ASK AGAIN? Brundidge council seeks funding for splash pad

Published 3:00 am Saturday, July 8, 2017

The city of Brundidge will try again to secure grant funding for a splash pad park, and at least one council member is disappointed in that decision.

Margaret Ross, District 3, expressed disappointment that the city council voted Thursday to resubmit a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application for a slash pad that was denied by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs in the 2016 grant cycle.

The council voted 3-2 to resubmit the application for the splash pad with Arthur Lee Griffin, District 2 and Betty Baxter, District 1 and Mayor Isabell Boyd voting in favor of the application and Ross and Chris Foster, District 5, voting no. Byron Gaynor, District 4, was not in attendance.

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The council had discussed potential projects for the 2017 CDBG application at a June work session. In addition to the splash pad, the projects discussed were the demolition of blight structures within the city and the replacement of water lines on Lee, Oak, Ramage and Lawson streets. The 4-inch water lines would be replaced with 6-inch lines, therefore, providing improved fire protection for residents on those streets.

“From what I understand, the 4-inch lines don’t provide sufficient water pressure for fighting fires,” Ross said. “I think that providing increased fire protection for our citizens is much more important that providing a place for children to splash in water.

“The grant money and the city’s money would be much better spent with the improvements to the water lines and the demolition of dilapidated buildings.”

She also questioned the ability of the city to qualify for the grant funds with a project that already had been denied funding. 

“The 2016 grant for the splash pad was denied so I don’t know what has been done to improve our chances for the approval of the grant,” Ross said. “We should turn our attention in another direction.”

If the splash pad project is submitted and approved, the city’s match for the grant would be $425,000. Britt Thomas, city manager, said the total cost of the project as submitted in the 2016 CDBG application was $675,000.

Foster said he believes that it is wiser to seek grant funding that targets the city’s infrastructure. “That type grant would provide more services for all of our citizens,” he said.

Boyd said she supported the splash pad project because “the community was asking for it.”

She said hopefully the grant will be funded and in a year or 18 months children in Brundidge will have more options for entertainment and recreation.

Griffin said the children in Brundidge need more activities.

“I don’t think that the splash pad would cost that much,” he said. “Using city workers, we could cut the city’s cost. I’ve seen the splash pad they have down in Ozark and it’s really nice. Ours would be, too.”

On Friday, Baxter said she had noting to say about the splash pad.

In other council action on Thursday, Thomas reviewed the Alabama Department of Transportation’s response to signage directed primarily toward truck traffic and a four-way stop on Alabama 10 and 93, the downtown intersection.

Thomas said ALDOT’s response was based on the uniform traffic code and included appropriate signage coming from the Walmart DC onto Lott Boulevard and at the intersection of Lott Blvd. and U.S. Highway 231.

“ALDOT said that is the extent of what they can do about routing traffic,” Thomas said, adding that ALDOT cannot stop 18-wheelers from tuning onto and off of Main Street, which has been the concern expressed by council members.

The council also heard the response to the city’s request for a four-way stop that would replace the city’s one traffic light.

Thomas said the response from ALDOT was that at a 90-day study could be made that would include a four-way stop with signage and a flashing red light at the intersection. If the city decided a four-way stop was a better way of controlling traffic, it would mean the loss of several parking spaces on all four corners. The loss of parking spaces on the corner of South Main and Highway 10 (East Troy Street) would include a handicapped space and handicapped access onto the sidewalk, Thomas said.