Playground plans move forward

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Selma Times-Journal

The youth of Selma will have five new places to play a little roundball very soon.

At last night’s City Council meeting, the council heard an update on a parks and recreation project that is bringing public basketball courts to the area.

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In addition, playground equipment all over Selma is getting replaced and updated, according to Kay Jones, of the city’s Planning and Development office.

According to Jones, five parks in Selma will get new equipment and some existing equipment will be repainted.

Ronnie Sharp, Dinkins, Cedar Park, Buckeye and Meadowview parks will all be the homes of new basketball goals. Valley Creek will receive new playground equipment.

In addition, the fountain at city hall will be refurbished from the same monies.

The playground equipment will cost the city $20,137. The bid was awarded to Southern Playground Equipment.

The basketball goals, which are removable, will cost $15,500.

The city is purchasing them from McLendon Athletic Equipment.

The goals are detachable, allowing the city to remove them after dark. By buying detachable goals, city officials said they could save the money on fencing for the courts.

There was some discussion over the new walking trackbeing built across from Bloch Park.

Councilman Cecil Williamson was concerned that the city was spending money on a project without the consent of the council.

The oil-lease money can only be used for capital improvement projects, and was originally divided among individual Council members as discretionary funds.

Earlier this year, the Council voted to pool the money to update the city’s parks and recreational facilities.

The original plan did not include a walking track.

Mayor James Perkins Jr. explained to the council that his office planned to introduce the change in the project at last night’s meeting. He said the money being spent on the project came from savings on &8220;in-kind&8221; labor and from not having to put fencing around the basketball court.

In addition to &8220;in-kind&8221; work on the track, Jones said Vaughan Regional Medical Center was donating exercise equipment to station on the track worth about $45,000.

Perkins explained that the work already done at the park was the result of a miscommunication between his office and County Commissioner Kim Ballard. Perkins said his office only meant to discuss the project with Ballard, not go ahead with it before getting council approval.

Ballard said city officials called and asked if he’d be willing to help. Because the park is in his district, Ballard said he’d be happy to

and sent county workers out to cut the track.

Councilman Reid Cain suggested that the Council vote to approve the track, because all of the members agreed the track was needed.

Williamson agreed.

The motion passed unanimously.

The walking track will cost an estimated $20,000, which city officials said will come from the oil-lease money.

Jones also said that KAFRA engineering, Painter’s firm, would receive a percentage of the project’s total cost, although she didn’t have the percentage at last night’s meeting.

In other Council news:

The city passed the new Leash Law. After publication in The Times-Journal, the law will take effect immediately. The city’s new law outlines the rules and regulations for pets within the city limits. All dogs must be on a leash if they are outside, with their owner. For more information, contact the Central Alabama Animal Shelter.

The city ratified proclamations declaring a state of emergency for Hurricane Dennis. The proclamation allows the city to apply for public assistance funding to recoup losses from damage and labor costs for cleanup.

The city received an update on the Good Samaritan Hospital. The city has collected about $2,000 in rent for the Good Sam. According to Bridget Mills, who’s helping coordinate the project, the city must pay about $400 to the state as per the lease agreement with the state.

According to the agreement, Selma must pay 20 percent of net profits from the Good Sam. The 20 percent figure, according to officials, comes after the city provides for repairs to the facility.

Council members heard an update from Mills about the 500 club project. Mills said that 31 Selma youths are employed through the program, 11 privately and 20 on the city’s payroll.

The Council also received the monthly crime report from Police Chief Jimmy Martin.

Martin’s report still showed that the majority of the calls received by the Selma Police Department came from outside the city limits within the police jurisdiction. In addition, Williamson noted that the loud music calls were still numerous.

Martin’s report showed that of 25 calls received regarding noise violations, the SPD issued 11 citations.

Williamson said he was still worried about the noise violations within the city.

Painter updated Council members on the city’s Federal Emergency Management Agency claims. According to Painter, the city must first file damage claims with their insurance company, wait for an assessment and then receive money for the claim. The city then files a claim with FEMA for the difference between the money the insurance company paid for repairs and the actual cost. FEMA reviews the claim and pays the city 90 percent of the difference.

Painter said the city had already received $150,000 from FEMA for debris cleanup costs from Ivan. The total money could be about $700,000 after all the claims are completed, he said.

Painter also reported on the repairs at Crescent Hill. Painter said crews were scheduled to begin work yesterday, but the weather prevented them from starting. Painter said the company would begin work as soon as the ground dried out more. He said he hoped the project was completed ahead of schedule.

City Attorney Jimmy Nunn updated the city on the St. James Hotel. Charles Bonner, the potential leasor for the property is working on an agreement with Larry Striplin, the current leasor to pay for repairs to the structure. Nunn also said Bonner would be making an arrangement to avoid putting $250,000 in an escrow account for the city to fund repairs.

The Council discussed the city’s appointments to the Historical Preservation

Authority. The Authority makes decisions to disburse public funds to owners of historic property. The city must appoint three members to the Authority to receive the funds. The Administrative Committee was assigned to review appointments.

Nunn also said his office was working on a new livestock ordinance for the city. According to an old law, city residents are allowed to have two of any animal within the city limits, Nunn said. Councilwoman Jannie Venter said she’s concerned about livestock in the city limits.

The city put a liquor license for John Murphy, who owns a club at 2519 Highway 14E on first reading.

Council members discussed briefly raising ad valorem taxes for city residents to raise tax revenue for the city of Selma. &8220;Ad valorem is the way to go,&8221; Leashore said.

Councilman Cecil Williamson disagreed.

The city approved giving the City Clerk’s office $1,300 to reimburse some of the expense of putting new microphones in the City Council Chambers. The total cost of the sound system was $3,000. The money was disbursed from the Council’s special project fund.

The city again voted on a motion to move the citizen’s report from the end of the meeting to about the middle of it. The motion was defeated 5-4, with Council members Jean Martin, Reid Cain, Cecil Williamson and Council President George Evans voting for the change. The motion was originally brought up at the last meeting, where a 4-4 vote carried it over to last night’s meeting. Venter, who cast the deciding vote against the motion, was absent during the previous meeting.

The council heard about the plans of Cedric Griffin, of Jacksonville, Fla., to open Club Destiny, on Washington Street. Griffin plans to institute a full security crew, a dress code and 25 as the lowest age allowed in the club. He said he wanted to make the Council aware of his plans because of trouble the city’s had with nightclubs in the past. Griffin is a Selma native, and a graduate of Keith High School. The club is expected to open at the end of this month. The council agreed to vote to suspend the rules at the next meeting to allow Griffin to continue his plan.