Arch St. project moves ahead

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 7, 2006

Representatives of Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood were in Demopolis last night to present their final engineering plan for the Arch Street Project to the city council.

The purpose of the presentation was to allow the council to approve the project for the next step, which was turn it over to the Department of Transportation so they could come up with a budget.

But, there were still some questions from the council. Councilman Jack Cooley said he wanted to be sure Thursday night’s approval did not lock the city into an agreement.

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“We ant to know if this body gives its approval to go ahead, that does not eliminate all possibilities of change,” Cooley said.

Burns Whittaker, an engineer with the company, said they would not be locked into any plans. But, he said, changes could be expensive the later in the project they are made.

“What we don’t want to get into is getting the plans approved and then start trying to change things or get the contract awarded and then start trying to change things,” Whittaker said. “This isn’t going to lock you into anything. There will be plenty of opportunities to look at this.”

The agreement also stated the Demopolis Historic Preservation Commission would have a chance to look the plans over.

The plan still met some opposition. Counclmen Melvin Yelverton and Charles Jones said they would like to table the issue and vote at the April 20 meeting.

But, to keep the project moving forward, Whittaker said, it was important to get the project to DOT within two weeks.

The motion passed 4-2 with Jones and Yelverton in opposition.

There were few changes to the plans presented at the last public hearing. At that meeting there were some concerns about how erosion on the bluffs would be dealt with.

Goodwyn Mills and Cawood representative Will Barrett said they still planned to put up a 10-foot sea wall.

This created concern for bass tournaments and boat parking from Councilman Woody Collins.

“Is there any way to bring a boat up there and tie it up and exit the boat there?” Collins asked. “When they have weigh ins at bass tournaments there can be 100 to 125 boats everywhere.”

There would be arrangements, Barrett said, to allow people to tie off at the sea wall. There will also be a 24-inch cobblestone walk leading down to the boating area.

Flooding was also a concern, Cooley said. But, the plans called for methods to allow the water to drain to keep the parking lot from flooding, Barrett said,

In addition to the original plan, oak trees will also be planted along the trail. But, the trees will not be placed in a manner that will disturb viewings of Christmas on the River and other events at the landing.