Council provides update of city’s Heritage Park project

Published 7:30 am Saturday, April 8, 2023

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The Andalusia City Council approved purchases for multiple departments and discussed updates on the proposed Heritage Park Tuesday.

According to City Clerk John Thompson, the new park to be located at the intersection of S. Cotton and Tisdale streets is currently in the permitting process. He said most permitting has been completed, but the Army Corps of Engineers is requesting a marker indicating the historical businesses that were once located in that area.

“Our engineer has applied for all of the permits necessary to commence work on the park. The Corps of Engineers has taken issue with some of the buildings we had removed on the east side of S. Cotton Street. Our [local and state] historic agencies had no problem or concerns with it. Of course, we have no problem placing a marker and are happy to do that. We make many references to the historic preservation we’ve done in Andalusia. If we agree to memorialize those buildings with some type of marker that would satisfy the Corps’ requirement,” Thompson said.

Thompson said the Corps will provide a Memorandum of Understanding between all parties stating that the city agrees to place a marker paying homage to the businesses that were once located there. There will be a 30-day period for the MOU to be considered by all parties.

“We are held up for now, we are just waiting for the Corps to provide that final permit. The plans are all but done. The engineers are waiting for the final permitting and then they will come [to the council] with the final version of the park. If the council signs off on it, we will be ready to go,” Thompson said.

Action items addressed by the council included:

  • approving the purchase of 20 Stinger spike strips for the police department. The total cost is $11,600 and will paid with federal COVID funds.

The spikes are designed to help officers end pursuits by quickly placing them across the road to safely deflate tires.

The police department already has some of the spike systems, but Police Chief Paul Hudson said with the purchase each patrol vehicle will have one when needed.

“A couple of weeks ago, we had a pursuit that ended at the Samurai Steakhouse. One of our guys got there and was able to put the spikes down and the guy hit it. A deputy did the right thing by pushing the suspect’s vehicle into a ditch because Guardian Angel (day care) was letting out, a dance studio had people coming in and out, it had to be ended quickly. That is what we want to do … keep them out of town,” Hudson said.

“This is so much better than chasing some fool through town at 100 miles per hour. It will provide an added measure of safety for our officers and the public,” Mayor Earl Johnson said.

  • approving a fifth payment reimbursement to CDG Engineering for their work on renovations to downtown’s Prestwood Building. The reimbursement of $139,700 will be paid from a 2022 Series B bond.
  • approving the purchase and lease of equipment for the city’s Leisure Department. The department will purchase two fairway mowers that were previously leased by the city. Leisure Department Head Willie Edwards said the mowers are still in good condition. Those mowers will be purchased for $36,500.

The council agreed to lease two flail mowers at a cost of $589 per month.

To conclude the meeting, the mayor reminded the public that city offices were closed Friday, April 7 to observe Good Friday.

The next city council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 18, with a work session at 5:30 p.m. and a regular meeting starting at 6 p.m.