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Land donated for local park: Property already contains a playground

Woody Dinning Jr. surprised almost everyone on the Demopolis City Council Thursday night when he arrived looking to give something to the city instead of wanting something from the city.

Dinning said he approached Johnny Brooker of the Demopolis Parks&Recreations with an idea of turning a lot and a half of land that currently has a playground built on it into a city park. The Eastern Hills Park in the Eastern Hills Subdivision is already on Dinning’s land, which his father Woody Dinning Sr. left to him after his death and he just wanted to make it official by handing over the deed to the city.

“My father loved all the children of Demopolis and I can’t think of a better way to honor him then by having a park that children can play in,” Dinning said.

The city council accepted his offer whole-heartedly and he turned the papers over to Brooker. Councilman Ronnie O’Neal asked Dinning if they should rename the park after his father and he said “No, just call it The Eastern Hill Park in memory of Woody Dinning Sr. because he never really like a lot of hoopla,” Dinning said.

After the latest survey by Brown&Associates of the old West Alabama Transportation building, which is about to be transformed into the Public Safety Complex, the cost estimate dropped substantially from $3.1 million to around $550,000 to $600,000.

Mayor Austin Caldwell said the main concern was going to be getting the Demopolis Fire Department moved into the building as soon as possible. The city council voted to hire Brown&Associates to design a plan of the project and do the construction in phases beginning with the fire department.

The CEO of Arrow Disposal Service Richard Urrutia came to the council meeting looking to get a new contract with the City of Demopolis to transport the garbage. Councilman Thomas Moore asked him about the lapse in service when it comes to some items that aren’t getting picked up.

Urrutia said there had been a mix up with what the city was responsible for and what Arrow was responsible for, but now all of that is worked out.

“I apologize about the service,” Urrutia said.

Councilman Willard Williams asked him about he had received calls from some businesses that couldn’t get bins for their stores. Urrutia said there was a problem with getting new bins, but now there are about 50 to 60 in the yard ready to go.

During the vote to renew Arrow’s contract, the vote passed 4-2, but Williams and Moore opposed.

The architect for the Theo Ratliff Activity Center was chosen during the council meeting. The Director of Demopolis Parks&Recreations Mark Pettus said the committee received 5 very good offers, but wanted to go with McKee&Associates.

They also issued the Election Calendar for 2004 during the meeting.

* 5/24/04 Last day for council to change its district lines

* 5/26/04 Last day to become resident of City and be candidate for election

* 7/06/04 Candidates may begin qualifying

* 7/20/04 Last day to qualify

* 8/24/04 Election Day