Florala makes plans to manage park

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Advisory committee named

The Florala Council Tuesday authorized the purchase of goods and services needed to keep the Lake Jackson park operational in the short term, and appointed a committee to evaluate long-term needs.

The city learned last week that the State of Alabama, which closed Florala State Park and four others effective Oct. 15, had agreed to transfer the lake property back to the city.

City Attorney Wes Laird said as late as Monday, state officials said they are still in the legal process of transitioning ownership of the park, but indicated they are in agreement to transfer.

“This is a huge asset for the city, and can really be a gem from now on,” Laird said. “There needs to be some deliberation on how it’s organized from the city standpoint, like who has oversight of park. And there are some things, like laundry, that need to be handled immediately.

“One of the good things is that it is the time of year it is,” Laird said. “Other than the RV park, there’s not a lot of demand. There’s time between now and spring to do things legally, and correctly. We need to put it in the hands of some capable folks to keep this park the gem it is.”

Based on recommendations from Mayor Robert Williamson, the council:

• Authorized $3,500 to be spent to replace the coin-operated washers and dryers removed from the camp area by the state.

• Agreed to assume responsibility for utilities and services, like water, sewerage, power, satellite television and garbage for all areas of the park.

• Hired Abbie Spillman on a part-time, temporary basis, to oversee the park. Mrs. Spillman was a former park employee and had been volunteering her time there.

• Appointed four people to a “non-binding committee” to make recommendations on the operation of the park to the council. Those included:

–Joy Taylor, described by the mayor as “a numbers guru and an RV’er.”

–Gary Jones – an RV’er who lives on lake who also is knowledgeable on water quality issues.

–Rick Clifton – who heads the Covington County Economic Development Commission and is an RV’er, as well.

–Jim Burdine – a camper who winters in Florala and also has volunteered time to the upkeep of the park.

The committee is being asked to give a report in November.