City retains relations firm

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 17, 2005

The Luverne City Council agreed to retain the Bloom Group, Inc. - a governmental relations/communications specialization firm - for one year to represent the city's best interests in dealing with funding and other issues on the state and federal level.

Mayor Joe Rex Sport told the council that the Montgomery-based Bloom Group had been instrumental in helping Luverne obtain needed federal funding for the upcoming downtown revitalization project. By placing the firm on retainer, at a cost of $4,000 per month, Sport said he hopes the Bloom Group can help cement even more funding for Luverne in the future. Previously, the city has paid the firm 10 percent of each grant received, which amounted to $50,000 in the case of funding for the downtown revitalization project.

"This allows the Bloom Group to work at both the state and federal level for us instead of just the federal," said Sport. "They'll be able to address any concerns we have. I know we have several things coming up that we want to look at getting grant money for, including a new fire department and fire truck."

The firm specializes in representing Fortune 500 companies, government municipalities and other large entities in vital dealings with the state and federal legislature. On behalf of Luverne, the group will, among other things: monitor all state legislative sessions and committee meetings, represent the city at public hearings while also presenting the city's viewpoint to lawmakers and help promote the city's best interest in matters of legislation.

Recently, the group helped Luverne secure an appropriation grant that will be used to construct a new well at the city's industrial park.

Sport reported to the council on several items, including the conclusion of paving at the city's walking trail at E.L. Turner Park. Additionally, light poles along the outfields at the park found by city inspectors to be in degrees of deterioration, are in the process of being replaced.

The mayor said he would also be mailing notices to a number of Luverne residents, giving them 30 days to clean-up their vacant property or force the city to take action. Sport distributed a list to each council member.

Councilman Pat Walker addressed the council on behalf of the Crenshaw Community Hospital.

"The medical staff at the hospital are particularly concerned about our teens not wearing seatbelts and was wondering if the police could start doing seatbelt checks again," said Walker. Walker's concern stems from an accident last week when Jessie Rainey - a student at Crenshaw Christian Academy - was thrown from her vehicle, suffering massive trauma to her head and body. Rainey was stabilized at Crenshaw Community Hospital before being transferred to Birmingham.

Sport said he would discuss the issue with Luverne Police Chief Paul Allen.

The council also voted to re-zone the Walter Martin property on 528 South Forest Ave. from R-P to R-3.