Jackson Street bridge reopens Friday

Published 11:21 pm Thursday, January 22, 2009

City of Demopolis public works director Mike Baker told the Demopolis City Council that the Jackson Street bridge would be open by 8 a.m. Friday (today). That announcement was made at the council’s regular meeting on Thursday.

Baker said the bridge would need to close one lane so the undercarriage could be painted, and that may last for a few hours on one day. Baker said that should take place in the next few weeks, depending on the weather, as the temperature of the steel needed to be 50 degrees to be painted properly.

The bridge was closed for repair on Jan. 6 so that repair crews could fix the undercarriage of the bridge, located in front of Collins Communications.

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Other actions taken at the Demopolis City Council meeting included:

City attorney Richard S. Manley told the council that he had sent seven final letters to owners of dilapidated properties in Demopolis. He said he set a deadline for response, and if he did not hear from the owners by then, he would report to the council. The next step is likely to be legal action.

The council discussed how to pay for corrective construction at Fire Station No. 3. Manley suggested suing the architect, Brown Design Group, to have it done correctly, because there was some question about how the plans were done. Manley said the contractor, Lane Eaves, tried to follow the plans, but the drainage would not work, so he tried to implement something that he thought would solve the problem, which also didn’t work.

The Demopolis Times reported on June 24 that Coy L. Cooper Jr. of Brown Design Group sent Eaves a letter on June 16 saying the asphalt at the station was unacceptable.

“The asphalt surface is patchy and irregular with high and low spots and appears to be of poor quality,” the letter stated. “The patches appear to be attempts to correct low spots. The patches are unsightly and, in some areas, create more problems, such as retention of water.”

Then-mayor Cecil Williamson avoided discussion of the controversy, saying “That is between the architect and the contractor.”

At the Thursday meeting, the council voted to allow Manley to send a letter to the architect regarding the problem.

Grayson told the council that the paving at French Creek was completed, giving thanks to the county and to Marengo County Commissioner Freddy Armistead.

Grayson also announced that the bids for the municipal complex project would be opened on Tuesday, Jan. 27, at 2 p.m. at the Demopolis Police Department.

Later in the meeting, a number of officers from the Demopolis Police Department presented the council with a petition requesting the municipal complex be named in honor of Charles Avery, a former police chief and longtime Demopolis police officer who passed away suddenly on Dec. 22. The council said it would table any decision until the next meeting.

Parks and recreation director Mark Pettus told the council that the Theo Ratliff Activity Center was on hold while Gaddy Mechanical did work in the ceiling. When Grayson asked him about the terms of the contract, Pettus told him that it was supposed to have been completed by Dec. 1, and that the delays were caused by him, due to weather, the Theo Ratliff camp and other things.

Jodie Smith of the law firm of Maynard, Cooper and Gale presented options for the council to pursue to enhance the city’s industry, with both existing businesses and in recruiting industry. The cooperative district idea he presented seemed to be the most attractive, using Chambers County in eastern Alabama as an example.

Debra M. Fox, the executive director of the Marengo County Economic Development Authority, called the idea “another tool in our toolbox for maintaining existing businesses. It would allow us to focus on development…and help identify gaps.”

The council took the idea under consideration and made no action.

An agreement dating to 1948 between the City of Demopolis and the Demopolis Water and Sewer Authority was discussed. Byron Cook said the city had agreed to pay rent on its fire hydrants and the water and sewer authority agreed to pay insurance. District 5 representative Jack Cooley said it may be time to re-evaluate the agreement. The council took no action.

Building official Junior Brooker asked the council for its opinion to take time-dated photos of banners not in compliance with the sign ordinance to help with prosecution of offenders. The council will bring the ordinance to its next meeting and consider taking action.

The next scheduled meeting of the Demopolis City Council will be on Thursday, Feb. 5, at 5:15 p.m. at Rooster Hall.