Oneonta continues Wallace State planning

Oneonta city manager Ed Lowe reported work is progressing on the renovation of a former automobile dealership to house a temporary Wallace State Community College satellite campus. Speaking at last week’s council session, Lowe labeled the project “essentially ahead of schedule,” as workers undertake laying floor coverings.

The city council has scheduled two public informational and discussion meetings over the next month to address the city’s Wallace State plans. The first session is set for March 22 and the second for April 12, each after the regular council meetings which begin at 5:30 p.m.

Responding to an inquiry from Councilman Mark Gargus, Lowe affirmed that the city plans to hold an open house at the facility closer to its completion. Lowe also explained the building now houses 14 dedicated circuits able with the capacity to run seven computers each. The college has already released a schedule of classes set for a summer session.

In addition to the Wallace State public meetings, the council has scheduled an April 26 public work session/discussion over city funding for its school system. Lowe stated city leaders are evaluating finances to see what funds might be available to assist the system.

Gargus made reference to the system’s request, as well, asserting school leaders had originally requested help in funding an art teacher and assistant band director. He said he hoped the city would be able to help with that.

Lowe included an update on work at the city’s airport. He noted workers had completed work on one grant and would begin land acquisition approved for another grant totaling $143,000.

Lowe warned the city would likely not receive any additional airport grants unless it could resolve glide-slope issues. He explained that a few trees presently present problems for flight take-offs and landings. He reported that on the governor’s last visit his plane did not land at the airport because of those approach concerns. Lowe elaborated that the issue involves more than a few trees, since future growth of other trees will remain a problem. He stated that the area of concern entails about six acres of private property.

Responding to a query from Councilman Danny Robinson on soccer fields, Lowe noted that the city continues clearing land south of town around the city’s old dumpsite. He said the clearing had been necessary to determine what land might be usable for the fields. Lowe believes city officials have identified an appropriate site on the cleared land for the fields.

As the council coordinator for financial matters, Robinson won unanimous approval to hire Tracy Roybal as city revenue officer. Gargus won approval, as well, to hire two additional summer workers to the list of those previously hired. He reported that somehow the applications for Tyler Ellis and Anna Frey had been misplaced prior to the last action. In his later report, Gargus announced completion of restrooms at Woodland Park.

Councilors approved granting a liquor license for Dollar General. Prior to the regular session, councilors had held a public hearing on the license request. Mayor Ross Norris had confirmed unanimous consent from the alcohol license review committee in that session.

In an alcohol-related matter, Lowe reported the ribbon-cutting opening of the state ABC (Alabama Beverage Control) store. In response to her question, he advised councilor Tonya Rogers of progress on new businesses for the town. He said Zaxby’s had closed on the property for its proposed location, that the new pediatrics facility south of town would soon hold a ribbon cutting, and that he remained optimistic on Daylight Donut’s opening soon.

Remaining councilors Hal Blackwood and Tim McNair joined Norris, Gargus, Robinson, and Rogers for the March 8 meeting. The council holds its regular sessions the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 5:30 p.m. in city hall.