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Council approves contract with RMI Railworks to restore Rocky Brook Rocket

By Rebekah Martin
Associate Editor

The Opelika City Council approved a resolution at Tuesday’s meeting authorizing an agreement with RMI Railworks of Camarillo, Calif. to repair and restore the Rocky Brook Rocket. The Parks and Recreation Department began a campaign last June to raise the funds from private donors to complete the project without the expenditure of public funds. The miniature train, which has been in operation at Municipal Park since 1955, will require an estimated investment of $70,000 to be fully refurbished. A representative of RMI Railworks is scheduled to complete the initial inspection of the track and the Rocky Brook Rocket today. Matthew Battles, Municipal Area Supervisor for Parks and Recreation, said it will take approximately six months for the restoration to be completed and that the fully-restored Rocky Brook Rocket will be back in Opelika for use in the spring of 2016.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Gary Fuller recognized Doug Underwood for his involvement in the annual Summer Swing 5k races. Underwood has been an avid runner for a number of years and has participated in many marathons including the Boston Marathon with a time of 3:53.00. Thirty to fifty runners participate in the weekly race that coincides with the Summer Swing Concert  on Tuesday nights. In recognition of Underwood’s hard work, Fuller read a proclamation naming Aug. 18 Doug Underwood Day in Opelika.
“I am totally surprised and shocked and had no idea this was coming. One of the things I have enjoyed doing is being involved in the Summer Swing 5k series, just because it’s fun,” Underwood said. “We meet a lot of people and we have a lot of fun and when you enjoy doing something it’s easy to do it year after year. We have a wonderful community and we’ve had a lot of support. I’m just very flattered and proud.”
In other business the council:
-amended two tax abatements with Hanwha L&C Alabama, L.L.C. and Cumberland Plastics/Spartan Partners L.L.C., increasing the total on both abatements. Cumberland underestimated the cost of its expansion by more than one million dollars while Hanwah underestimated their total investment by nearly 3 million dollars. City attorney Guy Gunter said amending these two tax abatements was good for Opelika, as the companies invested more capital into their projects than originally thought, adding approximately 175 new jobs between them.
-approved the addition of a traffic signal to be constructed at the intersection of Lafayette Parkway and Lake Condy Road in front of Opelika High School.

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