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Arch Street Committee gets organized for work

DEMOPOLIS – Organizing and sifting around for a purpose were the main topics on the agenda of an ad-hoc committee appointed by the city council to study the Arch Street Scenic Walk project.

Meeting in the Chamber of Commerce office, Jay Shows, the Chamber’s president, was elected the committee’s chairman and Louise Reynolds was elected secretary.

Councilman Thomas Moore had requested the committee be formed two weeks ago after the city council approved a resolution accepting an Alabama Department of Transportation grant that would provide $403,237.60 in federal funds for the project as it is currently written.

The city would provide matching funds of a little more than $100,000 plus cover the expenses of engineering, surveys and environmental assessments.

The committee’s purpose, Moore stated during the council meeting, is to review the initial plans for the projects, suggest revisions if any and submit the changes to ALDOT for approval.

“We’re at liberty to do only what we’re charged to do,” Shows told committee members.

He said he would seek a scope of work from Mayor Austin Caldwell and report back to the group.

The committee isn’t under any time restraint in making a recommendation to the council, and Shows said there was sufficient time to establish a clear scope of work for the committee.

Of the topics discussed during the meeting Chuck Smith, who was representing the Parks and Recreation Department said the committee couldn’t do much in the way of recommending changes in the project until a survey report was finalized that determined the amount of land the city actually owns in the Arch Street area. Dr. Judy Travis, representing the Beautification Committee, and who owns property adjacent to Arch Street, agreed the survey would be a good starting point, and also brought up several points for future consideration.

Kirk Brooker, operations manager for the Marengo County Historical Society, clarified his organization’s position on the project.

“My group and I are certainly not totally opposed to the projects and we want to work things out,” he said, noting that the “right” steps needed to be taken in the process.

Brooker had sought the appointment of the committee to study the project.

Reynolds, representing the Arch Street property owners, echoed Brooker’s sentiments as well and Travis agreed.

“People who walk (along Arch Street) now are good people and friendly … Hoodlums don’t exercise,” she said.

Following the general committee meeting a motion was made for the committee to enter an executive session for the purposes of discussing the good name and character of an individual.

The committee did not set its next meeting date.