WAMH eyes expansion with land transfer

The Demopolis City Council voted Thursday to proceed with a property transfer to West Alabama Mental Health so that organization may expand to accommodate additional services and staff.

WAMH’s facility is located at 1215 S. Walnut Avenue and Executive Director Patricia Moore said they have outgrown the space of the building that was owned by the city.

“We are still in need of that property so that we may add on. We are in dire need of space,” Moore told the council.

Moore also said that the addition to the facility would include about 200 square feet and allow for increasing the staff in Demopolis by about 15 to 20 staff members.

Prior to approving the property transfer, city officials said they did discuss with representatives of the Tombigbee Healthcare Authority who indicated they would not have issues with the transfer as WAMH is not a direct competitor.

“We have always partnered with the hospital … we often refer (patients) to one another,” Moore said.

The transfer was approved unanimously. If the property were to cease being used for mental health purposes, it would revert back to the city.

Other items discussed by the council included the following:

• approving an expenditure of $60,000, over a two-year period (three budgets, according to Mayor John Laney) to the Tombigbee Healthcare Authority to supplement a salary for a community health physician.

• Public Works Director Barbara Blevins reported on streets that will be considered for re-striping. The cost for the project would be about $8,000, Blevins said. The council asked that she look into the costs for a striping machine for the city prior to making a decision.

• entering into a partnership with Service Line Warranties of America, which will be marketing in the area for property owner service line insurance.

• approving a re-allocation of Park and Recreation capital expense funds to be used for batting cages turf. The $12,000 was previously designated for bleachers.

• approving the sale by auction of 514 S. Front Street, a property acquired through the city’s ongoing dilapidated properties project.

• approving the purchase of a fire protection hood at the Demopolis Civic Center at a cost of $5,790. The purchase is required to bring the kitchen up to code.

• approving the condemnation of property associated with replacing the Jackson Street Bridge, East.

• approving for the public works department to handle the demolition of two properties: 516 Wolfe Circle and 411 N. Cherry St.

• heard a report from Demopolis High School senior Tristan Mullen about this recent experience as a delegate to the U.S. Senate Youth Leadership Program.

• resident Harold Park asked the council if there would be any other discussion regarding a stop sign request on Walnut Avenue where he said speeding is an issue. The council voted at the last meeting that resulted in a tie, meaning the motion failed. He is also requesting signage to prevent heavy truck traffic along that road.

The next council meeting will be held Thursday, April 19, 5:15 p.m., at Rooster Hall. The public is invited to attend.

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, April 7 issue of the Demopolis Times.)