Roundup: special meeting, emergency meeting, grant award

Blount County Commission

The Blount County Commission met Thursday and wrapped up miscellaneous business with two actions requiring commission approval. The commission also acknowledged a notification letter from Gov. Kay Ivey about a $350,000 grant award for a significant District 2 road improvement project.

The special meeting was called to approve an agreement covering several months of negotiation among county, state, and federal agencies to install door access controls at the Family Services Center. The special meeting was called to secure final approval to proceed immediately in order to meet a March 1 deadline for completion of the $52,202 project.

The emergency meeting was called to remedy a situation related to construction of new athletic facilities at Oneonta High School. The approaching rainy season could cause a remaining unstable slope to erode and slide, jeopardizing the recently completed baseball field and other facilities in the area, and must be contained with a 250-foot-long, 8-foot-high poured concrete retaining wall as soon as possible.

Due to the need for immediate action, normal procedural requirements were suspended by formal declaration and documentation of a bona fide emergency in order to protect citizens and property. Excavation and grading work for the new facilities has been handled by the county commission’s Dean Calvert of District 3, working under the auspices of the Oneonta City Board of Education. The Board will reimburse District 3 for costs associated with building the retaining wall. Cost is estimated at $130,000. Work is expected to begin this week and conclude within a month or less, depending on the weather.

The $350,000 award is a competitive grant administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. The project was submitted by the commission in July and provides for paving and other road improvements to a qualifying area in District 2, including Black Road, Mt. Hebron Road, and Mount Road.

“This is great news for people on those roads covered by the grant,” said District 2 Commissioner Mike Painter. “It also takes those three roads off the list of roads needing attention, and moves other roads on up nearer the top of the list, so it’s good news for those people too.”

Painter thanked the county engineer, the probate judge, and members Shedd, Kitchens, and Scofield of the Blount County legislative delegation for the unusual amount of work and support leading the project’s selection for the grant. Green added his thanks to the other commissioners who supported the choice of the District 2 roads to submit in the grant application.