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City lands Arch grant

Put another notch in the belt for Demopolis City Clerk Vickie Taylor as the City of Demopolis received a letter from the Alabama Department of Transportation congratulating the city on being approved for the $403,237.60 to start work on the Arch Street walk.

Director of City Parks and Recreations Mark Pettus said that all the praise should go to Vickie for this. He also said she has been responsible with help from others in creating over $650,000 in grant money for the city so far.

“We owe Vickie Taylor a lot for what she has done for the City of Demopolis. First the old fire department building and now the Arch Street walk, wow,” Pettus said.

He said now that the funding for the project has been secured, they’ve got to narrow the plans down to the exact figures so they can start taking bids. He also said that when this project was first announced that many of the residents that live near Arch Street were upset, but once they all sat down and discussed the matter everything was fine.

Plant Manager of Cemex John Laney lives near Arch Street and is the spokesman for the group of residents around that area.

When asked about the city receiving the money to go forward with the project, Laney said, “We’re glad to here that the city was about to get the grant money.”

Each year, there are Transportation Enhancement grants that the city can apply for.

In 2003, Demopolis received money to renovate the old firehouse building downtown.

The total cost of this project would be $504,047 with the city of Demopolis picking up $100,809.40 of that total cost. “(Approximately) $403,237.60 of it will be free federal money,” Taylor said.

This project is part of the City of Demopolis’ three-year Strategic Plan.

In applying for the grant, the proposal states that the project will help Demopolis’ ability to promote tourism and a retiree community, thus helping to create an environment that pursues and encourages the economic growth of Demopolis.

This riverfront development project focuses on floating docks, for the many boaters, and a bike and pedestrian path from the existing marina to areas of the downtown community – drawing tourist to Demopolis.

“The Parks and Recreation Department’s intensions were to renovate the city landing and river parks,” Pettus said. “We have letters from the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Developmental Authority and the Demopolis Yacht Basin showing their support for the Scenic Walk,” Taylor said.

There will be a new 4,875-foot x 10-foot of reinforced concrete bike and pedestrian path for the public to use. Secondly, there will be a four-foot high safety fence that will run the entire length and will be constructed of decorative iron.

There will also be lighting every 200 feet along with concrete benches every 400 feet. The entire walk will be landscaped with shrubbery and annuals. Two floating docks will be installed for the everyday and the casual boaters to use.

The Arch Street Scenic Walk was proposed and adopted by the City of Demopolis’ government back in 1976.

“The Chickasaw Gallery and the White Bluffs are just as important to the history of Demopolis as anything else here,” Pettus said.

Demopolis City Clerk Vickie Taylor and Mark Pettus, director of city Parks and Recreation, have revised an earlier plan for an Arch Street walk, adopted by the city council in 1976.

“This is a chance for the city of Demopolis to resurrect a project that began in 1976,” said Mayor Austin Caldwell.

“If there is any way Vickie or myself can put a good taste in the people’s mouth we will do it. “We would be more than happy to sit down and talk to any member of the public about this project,” Pettus said.