City announces $2.4M plan for new surfaces on 21 streets
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
City of Atmore officials are planning a massive, $2.4 million paving project designed to put new surfaces on parts of 21 city streets.
The resurfacing project will cover six streets in the city’s northeastern sector, six in its northwestern sector, five in the southeastern sector, and four in the southwestern quadrant.
During a workshop held Monday, September 12, Mayor Jim Staff expressed concern over the funding for the project but stressed that resurfacing of at least two streets on the list is critical.
“I wonder where we’re going to get the money,” Staff said. “The two streets that almost have to be done are Carpet Drive and Swift Mill Road. They are going to have to bear all that truck traffic from the peanut plant.”
City Clerk Becca Smith told council members that they basically had to decide from among two options.
“If you don’t want to spend $2.4 million, you need to weed some out,” she said. “If you don’t have a problem spending $2.4 million, then you need to be ready to vote to spend $2.4 million.”
When District 5’s Chris Harrison asked how financing the entire project would affect future road repairs, the city clerk explained that she and the mayor had different opinions on the matter.
“My idea is, if you have a road that’s caved in and needs to be paved, you pave it no matter what the debt is,” Smith said. “He (Staff) doesn’t think the same way.”
She then explained that one funding option available to the city is to consolidate a loan to carry out the resurfacing plan and the existing loan on the streets and sanitation building that was built last year.
“If y’all are okay with doing the whole thing, we can move forward with getting information from Chris (Walker, the city’s planner) and take that to the council.”
Walker said consolidation of a paving loan with the building loan would probably be the most viable option for the city.
“Once you decide you want to move forward with it, I can take a deep dive and say we can go this way, this way or this way,” he explained, adding that the streets-sanitation structure, which is financed under a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan program, would allow the city to include engineering fees in the total. “As long as it’s in line with USDA criteria, we’re fine and wouldn’t have a problem. By consolidating the two, (payments) are probably not going to be much more than you’re already paying.”
After District 1’s Webb Nall said the consolidation idea “sounds like the best way to go,” the council asked Walker to move forward with gathering information on the financing.
The streets designated for resurfacing include all or parts of McRae Street, 14th Avenue, South Carney Street, South Trammell Street and West Horner Street.
Most of East Horner Street is also included in the plan, as are 6th Avenue, Ridgeley Street, Brown Street, East and West Ashley streets, and Harris Street. Robinson Street will be resurfaced, as will all or parts of Swift Mill Road, Bream and Perch streets, South Pensacola Avenue, West Oak Street and West Louisville Avenue. Rounding out the list are Carpet Drive and six blocks of Peachtree Street.
The council is expected to give formal approval to the plan at its September 26 meeting.