The issue of the City of Andalusia renaming a portion of the Western Bypass in honor of city and Covington County veterans has been the subject of much discussion with the Andalusia City Council in recent meetings and also the subject of much opposition from various residents and business owners on the stretch of Bypass initially proposed.
The opposition has stemmed not from an attitude of not wishing to honor veterans, but instead due to the problems it may cause to have to change business numbers or addresses in the aftermath of many changes already having been made by Covington County E-911.
On Thursday evening, though, at the council's regular meeting, the city approved renaming a quarter-mile stretch of the Bypass as Veteran's Memorial Parkway.
Mayor Earl Johnson said that when the city first proposed naming a stretch of the Western Bypass in honor of veterans, a survey was conducted with some residents and business owners, and Larry Turman and Kenneth Mount also were at the council's workshop session to comment on the matter. There was much opposition to the proposed move.
Johnson, however, added that the city had discussed a compromise where the Bypass, from the intersection near the Rite Aid and Southtrust Bank, out to the Dunson Street intersection of the Bypass, would received the designated name for veterans.
"All of the businesses that we contacted from that (section of the Bypass) agreed that the road be renamed Veteran's Memorial Parkway and most of the businesses and residents from outside the western part of town objected," said Johnson. "What we have here is just an effort to just recognize veterans. I don't think it makes any difference if the road is a half mile long or ten miles long. The fact is we will have signs up in both directions which would show that this road is Veteran's Memorial Parkway."
In addition to the stretch of road being renamed,
Johnson said he is working with a group of veterans in an effort to establish a park in honor of veterans, possibly at the intersection of Church Street and Snowden Drive.
"We have an architect working on some renderings and ideas on how to proceed with that and I think we will be successful in doing that," said Johnson. "I think we will need a lot of help as far as coming up with a final design and then raising the money to get that done with. I think it is a doable project and is one that we need to do. I think we need to recognized the veterans not just of Andalusia but this entire county. I know that the Covington County Commission is perhaps interested in working with us on that project."
Councilman Jerry Andrews commented that while he supports the renaming of the stretch
of Bypass, he would like to see even more done for the veterans who sacrificed their lives for the nation.
He said that the issue of perhaps possibly renaming other stretches of road for veterans will likely be revisited, either by the current council or future administrations.
During Thursday's meeting, Leisure Services Director Dwight Mikel also gave an update on the city's upcoming Spring Fling.
"We are miles ahead (of last year) already," said Mikel. "One of the things we decided for this year and we talked to (Dianne) Jones about it is combining the Homespun Hoedown with the Spring Fling. What this will do is give the senior citizens the opportunity to enjoy the things they've always enjoyed with the Hoedown, but also enjoy all the other things we do with the Spring Fling."
The Hoedown activities will begin on April 11 at 9 a.m. and proceed until 3 p.m, and then the community-wide Spring Fling will begin.
Beginning that night the city will be hosting a county-wide high school softball tournament, in which all of the schools in the county will be playing doubleheaders, and then he said the city is working to secure a prominent local band to perform on a stage next to the softball complex.
There will be classic cars set up on April 11, with 46 registered for this year and five vendors also already registered for the Bar-B-Q cookoff.
"We have 16 to 18 arts and crafts arts and crafts people already lined up and as far as kid's' play apparatus, we're bringing in the same quantity of apparatus as we had last year and some of it has changed this year," said Mikel.
One of the highlighted new additions for this year, Mikel said, will be lawnmower racing.
"We visited a local lawnmower race last Sunday afternoon, and it was the doggonest thing you ever want to see," said Mikel. "We also met with a representative of the National Lawnmower Racing Association, and we are currently in discussions to bring up 40 of their club members on Saturday night (April 12) and do lawnmower races within the confines of the (Covington County Arena). We're working real hard to change some things that we are doing."
He noted the softball tournament will also continue on Saturday, April 12, but said the weekend schedule of events should include fun for people of all ages.
"The current price this year is $3 for the armband for the weekend and for senior citizens it will not cost them anything from 9 a.m. on (April 11) to 3 p.m. that afternoon. Then beginning at 3 p.m. we will be charging the general public."
In other business discussed at Thursday's meeting, the Andalusia City Council:
Failed to take action on an E-911 request to rename a portion of Sanford Road.
Presented service pins to 15-year city employees.