Council approves construction of Heritage Park, final version of city’s comprehensive plan

Published 7:30 am Monday, May 22, 2023

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The Andalusia City Council hit milestones on two ongoing projects Tuesday, approving the city’s 10-year comprehensive plan and setting the stage for construction to begin on Heritage Park.

Daniel Wells of CDG Engineering presented the most current renderings of the park, which will include a 360-seat amphitheater area, a large pond with a bridge, a small walking path as well as a larger path designed for running and biking. Other features, including the previously proposed carousel or similar attraction, would come in a future phase of the project.

According to City Administrator John Thompson, all permits and other requirements are completed, except one that pertains to a small wetland area. That permit within days and does not prevent the city from moving ahead portions of the construction outside of the wetland.

The council approved a payment of $100,000 from bond proceeds to cover the initial costs of supplies and to begin the work.

The new park will be constructed at the intersection of S. Cotton and Tisdale streets. Along with CDG Engineering, the city partnered with Concordia, an architectural firm out of New Orleans, for the park’s design.

The approval to begin construction is the result of several years of planning. Concordia hosted public meetings and used surveys to get public input leading up to producing its plan for the park.

In separate action, the council approved the final version of the city’s 10-year comprehensive plan. The plan, which provides a roadmap for development and zoning, was approved earlier by the city’s planning commission prior to coming to the council for final passage.

Like the park project, the city partnered with Concordia in the development of the plan. Two public meetings and several online surveys were used to receive community feedback and comments prior to the plan’s development.

Among the items addressed in the plan are: increased housing choices and more walkable neighborhoods; improved transportation with infrastructure for public transit, walking, bicycling and golf carts; improving community attractiveness; maintaining high-quality streets and other amenities; improve quality of life, including the development of underutilized or vacant areas; create and maintain facilities, infrastructure, and land use patterns that support active and healthy lifestyle choices; and preserving the local character and natural resources.

Other items addressed during Tuesday’s council meeting included:

  • approving an application for a Transportation Alternative Program grant. If approved for the grant, the funds would be used renovate sidewalks, drainage and lighting along Third Avenue, from Three Notch Street to Andalusia High School. The project will tie in with another city project, as well as one approved by the school system, to provide continuing sidewalk access in and around the high school campus. The cost for the Third Avenue project is estimated at $1.6. The grant will cover about $800,000 of that cost with the remainder being paid by the city. Officials said the project is at least two years away from coming to fruition.
  • approving to update technology for the city’s cemeteries that would include digital mapping. When the project is completed, it will allow visitors to use digital devices to quickly locate gravesites. The upfront costs for the equipment and setup is $42,000 with a monthly fee of $4,200.
  • declaring property within the city’s industrial park surplus and transferring that property into the city’s Capital Improvement Cooperative District.
  • approving a bid from Three Notch Staffing for fulfilling the city’s temporary worker needs. Three Notch Staffing has provided these services in recent years and officials said they have provided excellent service.
  • approving four nuisance properties for grass and weed issues.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 6, with a work session at 5:30 p.m. and the regular meeting beginning at 6 p.m. The public is invited to attend.