Troy undergoes ‘constructive’ summer

Published 7:25 pm Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ground is breaking and earth is moving all over Troy. From small to large city projects to those scattered across the university campus, local drivers have their share of detours to follow this summer.

A short section of road was closed yesterday during business hours on Franklin Drive. It was a minor inconvenience to most, rerouting some motorists to George Wallace Drive.

Speaking of rerouting and George Wallace Drive, plenty of that will be going on starting next Wednesday according to Mike Davis, the city’s water and sewer superintendent.

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“We will be closing George Wallace basically from Easy Street to Pell (Avenue), off-and-on for two weeks,” Davis said.

That work is part of a citywide sewer revitalization project.

“It’s increasing the capacity of the lines that go to our treatment plant,” Davis said.

The current sewage lines, which are 100 years old, are already at capacity. The increase will allow for the development of more homes and apartments down the road.

Of course, just as construction on Franklin sends traffic to George Wallace, so does a George Wallace road closure detour drivers to Franklin.

And Franklin Drive could soon provide alternate access to the Troy Sportsplex.

Plans are already in action to extend it south of U.S. Highway 231, which would bring it close to connecting to Enzor road.

That would mean improved community access to the recreation facility, which is currently set to complete the final inspection on a new walking trail and could break ground on its new “Miracle Field,” by the end of this month.

Both Franklin Drive and George Wallace Drive will be included in the upcoming “emergency resurfacing project” that was approved in a June 22, city council meeting.

Bids will open on that undertaking today which is expected to be a $700,000 project involving several streets in the city.

“The council is going to meet at 10 (a.m.) Friday morning to award the bids,” said City Planner Calvin Lott.

Proponents for a new library hope to eventually be taking bids for some construction of their own.

Troy City Council President Johnny Witherington said economic troubles have slowed progress though.

“We hope that this year we’ll be able to start the process. We’re just struggling to make it happen financially,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library down in Brundidge is nearly complete.

“We’re about 90 percent complete with the addition,” said Brundidge City Manager, Britt Thomas.

Withtherington said Troy’s new library will be a reality one day and that it’s just a question of when. There is no question however, as to the library’s location, which will be at the old high school by the Board of Education building just off Elm Street.

The BOE will be settled into new accommodations by that time though.

Troy City Schools Superintendent Linda Felton-Smith has been dropping by the new BOE building, currently being built at the old National Guard Armory on Elba Highway just off U.S. Highway 231.

“Progress is being made,” Felton-Smith said.

“It’s a lot of the small details that they’re working on at this time.”

Felton-Smith said workers were installing cabinets and molding when she stopped in Tuesday and she is hoping the building will be completed this month.

“As soon as we’re closer to a completion date we’ll announce our plans for moving.”

If all goes well, one lucky family won’t be too far off from moving come September, thanks to Habitat for Humanity.

Fred Johnson, executive director for Troy-Pike habitat said a plat in town has already been secured.

“We’ve had some land donated to us but it’s not closed on yet,” he said.

Johnson plans on announcing the family who will help build and then purchase the home on July 19 and hopes construction will be complete on September 11.

Several families of fraternal brothers will have their homes completed by August 1, according to Ken Deavers, who has been working with Troy University in construction management on several projects.

The seven fraternity houses in Fraternity Village are just one of many of those projects.

“The campus is surrounded,” Deavers said.

While Trojan Oaks Golf Course makes way for Trojan arena on the northeast side of campus, the Universities facilities are expanding west.

Construction of the CGI building is being done in coordination with the university technology department and eCampus.

“eCampus is on the east of that area (the old strip mall),” Deavers said.

“All of that should be completed by December 2010.”

Renovation of Bibb Graves Hall is projected to be finished by April next year while the new dining hall project is also well underway.

“We’re just getting into it good. It’s going fine,” Deavers said. “We plan to have that completed for August 2011.”

Of course there are several other projects that loom on the horizon. The Troy-Pike Animal Shelter Coalition has been working to raise the funds to build a self-sustaining animal shelter. The group hope to gain support from the city. While the city considers helping them, it hopes to receive assistance from Washington via the TIGER Grant, in order to build an alternate east-west corridor through town, a project that would most certainly bring in even more hammers and shovels, to an area that is already undergoing a lot of changes and improvements.