State bicentennial main topic of council meeting

During their Monday, February 27, meeting, Atmore City Council members took care of some housekeeping issues related to the new industrial access road at Rivercane Industrial Park, heard plans for the local celebration of Alabama’s bicentennial and approved the use of a public park for a May fundraiser.

City governors spent just over two minutes on three items related to Rivercane, while the two future events took up the remainder of the meeting.

The council gave unanimous approval to a resolution authorizing a contract with Southern Pine Electric Cooperative for the installation of lighting in the industrial park’s northern section, where the new Brown Precision plant is under construction.

The panel also approved resolutions authorizing the mayor to execute and sign all documents related to the $200,000 Delta Regional Authority grant announced late last week (see story, below) and designating South Alabama Regional Planning Commission as administrator of that grant.

“All this has to do with the industrial access road,” explained Mayor Jim Staff prior to the vote on the three agenda items. “This is for lighting in Rivercane North, from Highway 14 to where the split is. Southern Pine got the west part of the park; Alabama Power got the east side.”

Bicentennial buzz
Sheryl Vickery, executive director of the local Chamber of Commerce, talked at length about the local celebration of the state’s 200th birthday, which occurs on March 1, 2019. The celebration begins Friday, when Gov. Robert Bentley holds a press conference on the Capitol steps.

The celebration will be conducted over a three-year period during which Places will be the focus during 2017, People will be the 2018 theme and Stories of the People will highlight the actual bicentennial year.

“The first big event will be in Mobile, on May 5,” Vickery said. “From then on, all communities will be doing their own thing.”

She reported that two local historians – Nancy Karrick and Fritz Currie – have committed to helping with the research and offering suggestions on the people and places that will be the focus of the local celebration. More historians are expected to join the effort.

“We also have a committee that will be looking into what we’re doing,” continued Vickery, who announced that Gloria Jones, Bub Gideons, Chris Singleton, Jennifer Sanders, Hope Lassitter, Andrew Garner, Sherry Digmon, Myrna Monroe and Keith Castleberry were some of the individuals who would be serving on the committee. Others, including a representative from the city, will be added as things move forward.

“If anyone has any contribution or wants be on the committee, they can call me at 368-3305,” the chamber executive said. “We’re looking for an educator or two, because a lot of this is going to help with education. There will be a lot going on with education throughout these three years.

“We also hope to have someone from (Greater Escambia Council for the Arts) on the committee. There is someone writing a play about a character from this area from the past, and we would like to put it on the stage next year when we go to the People part.”

The mayor drew a few chuckles when he replied that, “There have been a lot of characters who came through Atmore.” He then read the proclamation pledging the city’s support of the local effort. (The proclamation is published in its entirety on Page 10A.)

Crawfish Crawl
David Strawbridge presented the meeting’s final item, a request to use Heritage Park for the planned Crawfish Crawl, a May 20 crawfish cooking competition that will serve as a Chamber of Commerce fundraiser. The council gave the request its unanimous approval.

More will be published on the event as it draws nearer, but those who would like more information may call the Chamber at 368-3305.

After Sandra Gray requested and received more information on the Delta Regional Authority grant, the meeting was adjourned.