Council: Andalusia will extend fiber optic lines to city’s parks

Published 9:15 am Sunday, March 10, 2024

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The City of Andalusia will be extending its fiber connectivity to allow for greater security within the city’s parks.

The city has worked in recent years to extend its fiber optic capabilities and officials requested building upon that project to allow for cameras and other security features to be utilized in the park areas. The cost for extending the lines, which the council approved, is $44,800.

City Projects Manager Andy Wiggins shared with the council a list of proposed locations where cameras could be installed.

“We looked at this 5-6 years ago, before we had our fiber ring around Andalusia. At that time, it was over $350,000 just to take fiber to our parks. The installation of the fiber ring with the money we had available (from COVID funds), has really reduced the cost to get camera systems in all of our parks,” Wiggins said.

The cost of installing the cameras will be discussed at a later time. The goal for the cameras is to provide APD dispatchers with constant views of activity within the parks. Wiggins added that additional phone boxes, like one already at Robinson Park, could be installed.

Currently, there are approximately 150 cameras installed at certain locations across the city, according to Wiggins.

The council also approved payment for street lights erected as part of the larger sidewalk project around the Andalusia High School campus.

The city paid $27,500 for the final payment on the lighting, which City Administrator John Thompson said is the final owed outside of the sidewalk project itself.

“If you haven’t had a chance, I hope everyone will take a minute to drive around — or walk around — the campus. I think you will agree that it will be one of the best projects we have done. The effect it’s had on the campus and neighborhood around it is outstanding. People are walking and enjoying it,” Thompson said.

The funds will be expensed from the city’s capital improvement fund.

Other items discussed by the council include:

  • approving to enter into a lease agreement to use a building across from the fire station on Church Street while the station is undergoing renovations. The building was at one time home to Evers Furniture. Wiggins said the building is a good fit short-term.

“We started the demo on the fire station project. We have a few trailers we are using for offices and equipment, but they are small. For common areas for the firefighters to use through the day and for additional storage, we can use this facility right across the street,” Wiggins said.

The council approved renting the building for six months at $3,600 per month.

  • approving to surplus Andalusia Police Department vehicles, including a 2011 Ford Crown Victoria, 2011 Ford Expedition, and two military 2011 Humvees acquired through a military donation program. APD Chief Paul Hudson said the department is no longer using the vehicles. Funds acquired from selling the two Fords will go back into the city’s general fund, but Hudson said funds acquired from the Humvees would have to go back to the police department, based on the military donation program agreement.
  • approving voting delegates for the upcoming meeting of the Alabama League of Municipalities. Councilman Joe Nix will be the voting delegate and Councilman Presley Boswell will serve as the alternate voting delegate.
  • declaring eight properties as nuisance for weed and grass issues.
  • hearing a report from Covington County Economic Development Director Rick Clifton and John Thompson provided an update on the work of the city’s Cooperative District.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 19, 6 p.m., at city hall with a work session preceding. The public is invited to attend.