By Michelle Key
During last week’s city council meeting, council members voted to approve a special appropriation of $25,000 to the East Alabama Medical Center Foundation to help defray the cost of the new cancer center that is currently under construction.
The council also held a public hearing was held on the demolition of the structures located at 207 Ave. A in Opelika. The property has been in disrepair and notice of the hearing was sent in June to owner and Valley resident Maurice Ward.
Ward addressed the council, requesting more time to seek advice of the Historic Commission and to develop plans for renovation. According to remarks made by Jeff Kappelman, Building Official for the City of Opelika, this is the second time that this property has been brought before the council for demolition. There was a order of demolition for this property in 2011. The current resolution for demolition was approved by the council, however, Ward was granted four weeks to bring forth plans showing adequate plans for renovation in order to prevent the demolition of the structures.
Four local community members were reappointed to government appointed boards. Haley Wilder and Richard Patton were both reappointed to the Downtown Redevelopment Authority Board, with their new terms ending Aug. 7, 2024. John Marsh and Debbie Purves were reappointed to the Historic Preservation Commission, with their appointments ending Aug. 19, 2021. Councilwoman Tiffany Gibson-Pitts abstained from voting on these reappointments, citing her concerns of the lack of diversity on these and other boards. She stressed the importance that these boards reflect the make-up of the city and she issued a challenge for the city council and the administration to come up with a better process to find ways to diversify these boards.
“Until we can diversify our boards, I will abstain my vote,” Gibson-Pitts said of her decision to abstain.
All four individuals were approved with a vote of 4 yeas and 1 abstain.
In other business, the council:
•Approved road closures for the following entities:
– First Baptist Church of Opelika – requested a closure between 8th and 9th Streets on Aug. 15
– I Run Opelika requested a road closure for their race to be held on Aug. 18
– Opelika Main Street requested a road closure on Aug. 24-25 for the ‘concourse/south’ event
– Opelika Chamber of Commerce requested a road closure for the Christmas Parade to be held Dec. 1
•Approved a bid to lease a new forklift. The annual lease payments for the forklift will be $11,321 for three years and there is an option to purchase the equipment at the end of the lease for an additional $32,245
• Approved the request for a liquor and beer license for 10,000 Hz Records
• Approved expense reports from city employees
• Approved the purchase of a 2018 Ford F150 Pickup for $19,682
• Approved the purchase of LED lighting for the new pickleball facility for $36,500
• Approved Weed Abatements for the following properties:
– Lot 71 Bay Ct.
– 105 Vaughan Ave.,
– 201 Ave. C,
– 404 S. 2nd St.
– 504 S. 4th St.
– 509 1st. Ave.
– 514 Old Columbus Road.,
• Approved a Special use permit request by Verizon at 2002 Steel St.
• Approved a hunting permit for 2833 and 3001 Sundance Road
• Approved the transfer of a wastequip baler to Auburn University
• Approved a transit agreement with Auburn University for the 2018 Football season
• Approved the PY2018 CDBG Action Plan
• Authorized grant application to ALDOT for intersection improvements at 4th, 6th and 7th Streets where they intersect Columbus Parkway. The proposed improvements include the construction of roundabouts at these intersections.
• Approved Ordinance 012-18
• Approved an amendment to City Code, Chapter 10, Subsection 10-57(G) to eliminate the $100 fee that lawn care companies are currently paying to the city
• Approved an amendment to change the City Code Chapter 14 – Door-to-Door Solicitation to increase the license fee to $50.
• Approved to adjust the compensation of the mayor and council members in November 2020. The last adjustment of compensation was made in 2008.