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Council approves contract, honors minister

Frank Gossett, left, accepts a plaque of appreciation from Tom Tschida.

With Mayor Jim Staff out of town on business, and one councilman and the city clerk absent due to illness, the Atmore City Council approved during its Monday, March 13, meeting a request to raze a nuisance structure, gave the green light to a contract for engineering on the industrial access road at Rivercane Industrial Park, and paid tribute to a local minister.

City Codes Officer Chris Black told council members that all legal requirements had been met, clearing the way for the tearing down of the abandoned Perch Street property.

“This is an abandoned house at 610 Perch Street,” Black said. “We’ve issued all the required notices, and they expired March 5. I am asking the council to declare this structure a public nuisance and order its removal.”

The four sitting council members voted unanimously to honor Black’s request.

Next, Emergency Service Chaplain Tom Tschida presented on the city’s behalf a plaque of appreciation to Frank Gossett, who has administered his Breaking Every Chain ministry as assistant chaplain at Holman Correctional Facility for the past four years.

“There are a lot of people in this community who do things that are not public knowledge, people who do things behind the scenes, people who do things to lift up other people,” Tschida said of Gossett, who was recognized by Gov. Robert Bentley during Bentley’s State of the State Address in January. “Frank is one of those people.”

Tschida read that the plaque was the city’s way of joining the Alabama Department of Corrections, Bentley and State Rep. Alan Baker in recognizing Gossett’s prison ministry, “where he gives hope to the hopeless.” The plaque also included that “his story and his willingness to carry the message of recovery from addiction is a powerful testimony to his character.”

In the evening’s final business, the four council members approved a contract between the city and Civil Southeast LLC, for the construction engineering on Innovation Parkway, the access road to be built at Rivercane.

The agreement with the Andalusia-based firm stipulates that “total fees billed shall not exceed $378,245.”

Before adjourning, the city council was reminded of the annual celebration for veterans of the Vietnam War. This year’s gathering will take place Saturday, March 25, at Heritage Park, beginning at 4 p.m.