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Damaged statue will be repaired at cost of $15,000

The Demopolis City Council on Thursday voted to move forward with repairs to a Confederate soldier statue that was damaged in 2016 when it was toppled from atop a downtown monument.

The discussion on the statue was continued from the previous meeting when the council asked Projects Manager Mike Baker to get more information on repair methods. The two bids the city received for the project each used different methods of repair.

Baker said he asked an expert in the field who concluded that the use of dowels would provide a longer life as compared to adhesive alone.

“In his opinion, the dowel would be a better fix. He said (the dowel) method would provide a longer life,” Baker said.

The two bids for the statue came in at $15,000 with the dowels and $5,600 using glue.

The council vote unanimously to award the bid to Doric South at $15,000 and use the dowel method of repair.

Since the statue is not being placed back on the monument it is not covered by insurance, meaning the city will pay the full amount for the repairs.

The statue fell from the monument when it was struck by a police patrol car in the early morning hours in July 2016. The council recently approved a bid for the placement of a obelisk atop the statue. The Confederate soldier, once repaired, will be housed in the Marengo County History and Archive Museum.

Mayor Pro Tem Charles Jones led the Thursday’s meeting as Mayor John Laney was absent as he recovers from a medical procedure. Also absent from the meeting was Councilman Bill Meador.

Other items discussed by the council included:

• approving to enter the application process for a Community Development Block Grant for sewer line rehabilitation in the area of N. Capital and E. Strawberry streets.

The project has an estimated cost of about $600,000 with about $450,000 to be paid through the grant. The Demopolis Water Works Board would pay the matching funds, according to Jones.

Also approved was to hire Civil Southeast Engineering to perform the engineering work for the project, pending the outcome of the grant application.

  hearing a report from Baker regarding an ongoing discussion related to ditch repairs on Decatur Street. Baker was asked at the last council meeting to research the costs involved with rip-rapping two sides of the ditch. The council had previously received a price for just one side. Baker said the total would be over $19,000, adding that if the city could provide the rock, the price would come down to below the amount required for bidding out, which is $15,000. No action was taken.

• Public Works Superintendent Barbara Blevins reported that repairs to the city’s street sweeper is estimated at just under $50,000. During discussion, Blevins reported the sweeper is too small and has trouble picking up as needed. A new street sweeper, she said, would be about $200,000. The council asked that she look into prices for a lease agreement.

• Public Safety Director Tommie Reese requested the council’s approval to apply for a grant that would be used for school security, including items such as security doors and cameras. He said the grant would need to be applied for by the city and would require a 25 percent match, which Reese said the Demopolis City School System would reimburse. The city would seek a $37,500 grant, which would include a match of $9,375. The council approved moving forward with the grant application.

• approving two resolutions to declare surplus property at the fire stations, including old computers and weights. Reese said after selling the equipment he would use the funds to construct a wall at Station 1 and to purchase mattresses.

• hearing from resident Renee Worlds regarding ditch problems along Jackson Street. She said recent work done has left areas that are holding water and that the problem extends for about two blocks. The council asked that the public works department look into the matter.

• resident Harold Park addressed the council asking about speed bumps on Walnut Avenue. He had addressed the council previously on the matter, stating that when others asked for speed breakers it has been done immediately.

“There appears to be no plan of action for the speeders on Walnut Avenue. I would like the council to ask (Reese) to explain his plan of action,” Park said.

Reese said he has placed officers on Walnut and that he has personally spent time on the street. Regarding speed bumps, he said he would not recommend it.

“I would not ask the council to put speed breakers on a major roadway through the city,” he said.

After working through the regular agenda, the council adjourned into executive session to discuss “financial matters.”

The next city council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 2, 5:15 p.m., at Rooster Hall.

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, July 21 issue of the Demopolis Times.)