Splashpad vote delayed

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Brundidge City Council delayed finalizing plans for a proposed splash pad until the amount of a private donation is determined.

The Brundidge City Council was set to vote on an application for a CDBG to fund the $600,000 project during its meeting on Tuesday but had to recess until 4 p.m. June 28.

Mayor Jimmy Ramage said a private investor for the project had not yet determined the amount of the contribution. To apply for the grant, which must be completed by July 1, the amount of the donation would have to firm.

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Ramage had said at the council’s June 7 meeting that the contribution could be $100,000 or more.

If awarded, the Community Enhancement grant would be used to fund a $663,865 recreation park that includes a splash pad, playground, walking trail and restroom facilities. The city will contribute $117,000 in in-kind service to the project and an estimated $296,855, less the donated funds from a private investor.

The total amount of the project at the June 7 meeting was estimated at around $534,000. City Manager Britt Thomas said the new figure included upgrades to the park.

The splash pad vote wasn’t the only high interest item on Tuesday’s agenda.

Thomas reported to the council that the city has received $232,000 from the TransLoad America bankruptcy suit. He said the council might want to use a portion of those funds to reduce the city’s loan, which has a present balance of $587,839. The loan has been reduced to that amount from the $1.2 million the city borrowed to purchase 22 acres in the city’s North Industrial Park.

The Tuesday meeting had a standing room only crowd of citizens, many of whom were in attendance to seek the city’s assistance in the “flooding” of their back lawns that occurs when it rains. The creek behind their homes is filled in with dirt and spills the water rather than funneling it along. The residents were from the Johnson and Darby Street areas.

Johnny Ross told the council that the creek that borders their property has been filled in by the sand, dirt and debris that wash down from several streets north of their homes.

“All that you’ve got to do to fix the problem is dig out the ditch so the rain water can move on through,” Ross said. “You’ve got the equipment and a man to run it. The water is backing up in our yards and washing them out.”

Ross said one neighbor’s yard has washed so severely that he has a five-foot hole in his yard

Thomas said he had talked with Max Mobley with Polyengineering of Dothan about the situation at a time past and, to fix the problem would be in the seven figures.

Thomas said the area is also considered a wetland and there are regulations regarding any changes to those areas. Ross, however, disagreed saying he could walk on solid land between his house and Main Street.

Thomas also said FEMA has been contacted and could offer no assistance due to regulations. “I’ve done what I can but I have to follow rules and regulations,” he said.

Thomas showed a map of the area that had the property lines of the Johnson Street residents running through the creek. The city cannot go onto private property to do work, he said.

Maxine Dubose said when she and her husband purchased their property; the lines ran to the creek. “We have a big problem and a big mess and we need help,” Dubose said.

Margaret Ross, council member for the District 3 through which the creek runs, said the council needs to find a solution for these people, “whatever else we do.”

Thomas discussed the rental policy for Brundidge Station with the council. He said following some issues with the use of the facility, the city is now going over each area of the rental policy with potential renters rather than asking them to read the policy and verifying their agreement to the terms in writing.

Thomas said if the council members have additional suggestions as to changes or additions to the policy, they should put them in writing so they can be shared with other cancel members prior to future meetings.