Demopolis City Council has lengthy debate on use of ARP funding

Published 4:18 pm Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Flooding along Main Avenue was the main topic of discussion during the April 7 Demopolis City Council meeting. Discussion included opinions on how the ARP (American Rescue Plan) funds should be used and which city repairs needed to be a priority.

The flooding on Main Avenue comes from storm drainage problems due to a broken pipe, and sewage backups that result from a broken water line. Because of the drainage problem, two homes on Jefferson Street are no longer inhabitable.

Councilmember Charles Jones, Jr proposed using the city funds instead of ARP funds to repair the sewer line underneath Walnut Avenue and Main Avenue. Mayor Woody Collins proposed the opposite, and suggested using the ARP funds because the estimated cost of repair is over $400,000.

After a lengthy discussion, the Council eventually voted to accept the work needed for Main Avenue.

During the work session, Rhae Darsey spoke to the Council about Main Street Demopolis, a group dedicated to revitalizing the downtown area along Main Street. The group is currently applying to become a part of Main Street Alabama, which is a non-profit organization that follows a 40-year-model for community revitalization that has seen nationwide success. Darsey requested that the city pass a resolution in support of Main Street Demopolis being chosen. The Council voted unanimously to pass the resolution.

ARP funds will also benefit the Theo Ratliff Activity Center in getting new air conditioning units. Gaddy Electric recently won the bid to replace the units for $48,800. The ARP funds will allow the Parks and Recreation Department to use other money from their budget to repair the center’s ballroom, and the walking trail at the SportsPlex.

New Birth Outreach Ministry and Demopolis resident Sam Omar both approached the Council to make requests. New Birth Ministry Outreach requested a street closure, and Omar requested a change to the city ordinance regarding banners along the roadside. Both were directed to speak with the Planning Commission before the Council could take any action regarding their requests.

Other items discussed by the Council:

  • Mayor Collins appointed six residents to the Beautification Committee: Brandy Guy, Sean Parker, Will Coplin, Rhae Darsey, Amanda Smith and Mem Webb

The Demopolis City Council meets on the first and third Thursday of each month at 5:15 p.m. Work session begins at 4:45 p.m. The public is invited to attend.