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Demopolis council to consider tank options

The Demopolis City Council will be working over the next few days to determine a course of action regarding an old water tower that sits on the bank of the Tombigbee River.

The tower, which sits between the City Landing and the Demopolis Civic Center, has been discussed previously, including members of the Marengo County Historical Society presenting plans for possible restoration as a historic marker.

The tower is currently the property of the Demopolis Water Works Board and they had planned to demolish the tower; however, they offered an opportunity to the city council if other options were available.

According to Projects Manager Mike Baker, the city has three options: demolish, stabalize, or enhancement based on the plans presented by the historical society. “The city could stabalize it now and allow (the historical society) to come up with a 20-year plan to turn it into what they want it to be,” Baker said.

The DWWB has agreed to provide funding to the city equal to the cost of their plan to demolish. Water Works officials said they would only seek bids to demolish, not for restoration efforts. Currently, the city cannot bid any projects associated with the tower because it does not own the property.

Members of the council agreed to have a work session to formulate a plan prior to the end of the month.

Other items discussed by the council included the following.

• The rezoning of property at the yacht basin to allow for multi-family dwelling was denied after the council received a letter from residents in that area against the change.

The city’s planning commission had approved the change, sending it to the council for final approval; however, they had not received the letter prior to voting.

Councilmen Bill Meador and Cleveland Cole, who also sits on the planning commission, felt the council should not approve the matter until the planning commission had an opportunity to consider the letter.

“My problem is that the letter was not presented to the planning commission,” Cole said. “I suggest it go back to the planning commission, which should have been done before people spent their time and resources there.”

The council approved a motion to deny the rezoning and send the matter back to the planning commission.

• The council approved refinancing over $3 million in bonds in an effort to take advantage of current interest rates.

• Airport Director Jason Pendergrass requested council approval to move forward with applying for a grant to make terminal improvements in 2020. He said the approval would allow him to being preliminary work, but does not obligate the city to the grant. He added that the city’s portion of the grant is $333,000, which has been budgeted.

“This is something we have been planning for several years and hopefully we will see construction underway by next summer,” Pendergrass said.

• Bambi Hamilton of SALT asked the council for permission to erect a star-shaped “angel tree” on the city square park to provide gifts for senior citizens this holiday season. “Wishes” will be placed on the star, which can be removed by those wishing to purchase gifts, Hamilton said. The council approved the requst.

The council adjourned following an executive session, citing good name and character.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 7, 5:15 p.m. at Rooster Hall. The public is invited.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, October 23 issue of the Demopolis Times.)