Bienville Park construction project approved

Published 10:25pm Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Construction on a sinkhole in Bienville Park could start on Monday. 

The Selma City Council approved a contract with John Woods Construction, of Selma, Tuesday to fix the collapsed storm drain  beneath the park. The contract is estimated to cost $33,800.

Jerry Woods, of John Woods Construction, said a small amount of paperwork remains, but construction could begin on Monday, April 28.

Ward 3 councilman Greg Bjelke expressed excitement after the meeting for the start of construction.

“Let’s move and get it started,” Bjelke said. “I’m ready to see it get fixed.”

The contract was one of three bids presented to the council by engineering consultant Ray Hogg.

Initially, all bids were rejected during Tuesday’s meeting because of a line item in John Woods contract.

City attorney Jimmy Nunn said the error didn’t affect the final price and Woods’ bid remain the lowest — about $5,000 less than the next bid.

Because the project costs less than the $50,000 minimum to follow state bid laws, Nunn said the council could simply pick one of the bidding companies for construction.

The motion passed with seven in favor, Ward 7 councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw voting against and Ward 6 councilman B.L. Tucker abstained.

Though construction will only address the collapsed storm drain, Bjelke said he has adidtional plans for Bienville.

“I’d like to see the brick wall, facing the road, gone, the monument put back in its place and a few shrubs,” he said.

Bjelke added he wants to see trees between the park and river cut down to provide a more pleasant view.

In other news from the meeting:

  • Nunn presented a proposed map of an annexation of the Selma-Dallas County YMCA, located on Medical Center Parkway.

The city limits end at the median of Medical Center Parkway. The map shows the city annexing the other half of the road and a square piece of land, which belongs to the YMCA.

The process of annexation began in 2013 when the YMCA presented a petition to the council asking to be included in the city limits after unanimously voting in favor of the move.

The YMCA currently receives a portion of the city’s lodging tax. In a previous interview with the Times-Journal councilwoman Susan Keith said the tax was a part of the reasoning for annexation. Keith said she also wants to begin working on various projects at the YMCA.

“The first thing I want to do is get started on soccer fields at the Y,” she said. “We currently don’t have any fields and I just think adding fields would be beneficial.”

  • The council voted to split oil lease funds 10 ways, between Mayor George Evans and nine council members.

Each council member will receive $17,800. No money will be dedicated to an emergency infrastructure fund, as the council previously discussed.

  • The council asked Hogg to begin taking bids on a collapsed sewer drain near the intersection of Alabama Avenue and Lauderdale Street.

The sewer drain is connected to the line beneath Bienville Park, but is a seperate collapse, according to Hogg.

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