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Linden approves grant planning phase

Linden will be the focus of a five-year grant funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to combat obesity in the area. Auburn University was awarded the grant and will distribute funds to the Marengo County Extension Office at a rate of $35,000 per year over five years.

County Extension Coordinator Pam Stenz told the Linden City Council at their meeting on Tuesday that they were seeking approval to begin planning for the first year’s project to stripe South Shiloh Street to make a designated biking and walking path.

South Shiloh Street will be striped from Highway 28 to the railroads or as far as funding allows.

SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator Tammy Glass  said “Our goal is to make South Shiloh Street a safe, inviting, walkable, bike-able roadway that encourages physical activity and safely connects  our students to the schools and our adults to food sources and merchants.”

She also said the project aims to bring citizens outside by building on local outdoor amenities such as ChiLLy Fest Park.

Stenz told the council that a five-year plan will be provided at a later date, and the council approved the extension office’s grant coalition to begin planning the striping project.

Auburn University was awarded over $1 million for the High Obesity Program which is being distributed throughout 13 Alabama counties, including Marengo County.

The extension office is an outreach organization for Auburn University and Alabama A&M University in cooperation with Tuskegee University.

Linden also resubmitted a Community Development Block Grant application to resurface eight roads in the city. The city applied for $320,000 in funding with a 30 percent match. The specific streets that will be paved include Easley St., Adams St., Ford St., Brandon Ave., Barkley St., Lucas St., Garner St. and Louisville Ave./Pool St. The city council applied for the same grant with the same specifications in 2018, but it was not awarded at that time.

Other items discussed by the city council include:

  • a new Linden resident expressed her desire to open a restaurant called Valentina’s Amor on East Coates Avenue. It will be a family restaurant with a sports grill. The resident told the council that she plans on having strict rules in place to prevent noise violations, as the owner of the location’s previous business C&J Pool Hall received multiple noise complaints. As it is a small building, the restaurant will have limited seating and will mostly operate on a carry-out or dine-in via reservation business model. She plans to return to city hall this week to acquire her business and liquor licenses.
  • a dilapidated property on Williams Street brought forward by Councilor Neal Jackson. Police Chief Robert Alston said he would contact the owners. Mayor Charles Moore also said that efforts to address other dilapidated properties have been 75 percent successful.
  • approving J&M Displays supplying ChiLLy Fest’s fireworks display for approximately $6,000.
  • passing a resolution allowing Moore to authorize all necessary documents for the city’s sale of property to Jack’s Family Restaurants and for City Clerk Barbara Cannon to attest his signature. City Attorney Woody Dinning Jr. said the closing of the sale would take place Friday.
  • approving the closure of city hall will be closed on Friday, July 5 due to Gov. Kay Ivey declaring it a holiday for state employees.
  • Dinning also told the council that the city’s statute allowing alcohol sales on Sunday starting at 1 p.m. did not make it to the floor of the Alabama Legislature in what he called an “oversight” by Montgomery officials. However, a new statue was passed by the state granting city councils to allow Sunday alcohol sales without state approval starting August 1. Dinning will bring forward an ordinance at the first meeting in August for review and possible approval. The council also changed the start time of the sales to 10 a.m. to match neighboring towns.
  • With Alabama Power closing its Linden office, Moore approached representatives of the company about acquiring the building but will not move forward on anything without the city council’s approval.

The Linden City Council meets every first and third Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at city hall. The public is invited to attend.

(An abbreviated version of this article originally appeared in the Wednesday, June 19 issue of the Demopolis Times.)