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Demopolis receives permits for drainage project

The Demopolis City Council is continuing efforts to improve upon an existing drainage project that some officials said did not go far enough to adequately handle the possible flow.

The improvements are focuses in the brickyard area where runoff empties into the Black Warrior River.  In July, the city council approved a bid with Mitchell Construction for $399,700. The project will be funded through a Community Development Block Grant with the city originally planning to providing matching funds of over $48,000.

Recently, city officials voiced concerns that the work did not include grading the ditches, which they said was essential if the project was to be done correctly.

Cedric Campbell, an enginner with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood who has been working with the city on the project, stated that the Corps of Engineers has now agreed to allow permitting for the grading. Campbell said the Corps is holding the permit for one area of the ditch until February as it is a known habitat for specific wildlife during the winter months.

The city began working with Rep. Terri Sewell’s office in July to get the permitting needed to do the additional grading. With those permits now approved, the cost for the project has increased by $28,630, which the council approved to pay during its meeting on Thursday, Oct. 5.

Mayor John Laney said without grading the bottom of the ditches, water would still be allowed to settle into pools at the bottom.

The project begins on E. Capitol Street and travels northeast to where it empties into the city landing area.

Other items discussed by the council included:

• an update from Building Superintendent Julius Rembert on the city’s ongoing dilapidated properties efforts.  Rembert reported that six additional properties have been added to a list of those that are in the early stages of the process. In all 22 properties have been on the list, and Rembert said his office is still receiving calls on others. Of those, 10 properties have been cleared with three others in progress and four others currently in the permitting process.

Two homes on Front Street were approved by the council to be demolished after receiving a low bid from Eaves Construction.

• approving to participate annually in the state’s Severe Weather Tax Holiday, usually held in February.

• approving a request from the Black Belt Christian Ministerial Association usage of George Franks Field for an upcoming community event.

• approving a measure allowing UAB officials to utilize facilities at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital.

• adopting a resolution stating the city’s support of Demopolis Parks and Recreation’s efforts to bring a future Babe Ruth World Series to the city’s SportsPlex.

• approving an internal control document related to the handling of cash at the request of the city’s accountant Rob Pearson.

• granting a travel request for the mayor to attend a National League of Municipalities event in Charlotte, North Carolina.