Talks Begin for Railroad Overpass

Talks Begin for Railroad Overpass

By Marla Jones, Reporter •

FORT PAYNE, Ala. — (Full LIVE video on our Facebook) The Fort Payne City Council held their regularly scheduled meeting on June 19, 2018.

The Council discussed ongoing talks with Norfolk Southern regarding the problems arising due to trains that are stopped downtown, blocking traffic.

According to Council President, Brian Baine, the situation could only get worse. Plans were made to designate First Street as the place where the trains will break if the trains would tie up traffic for longer than two hours.

At the meeting, a plan was discussed regarding a overpass for the City.  A possible site for the overpass would be at the South end of town near the South Y off Highway 11, passing over Godfrey Avenue to 8th Street. Norfolk Southern offered to assist with $35,000 for the closing of the 23rd Street South crossing. This money will allow the Council to research what options including possibile grants that are available with the Railroad to build overpass.

“I am glad that Norfolk Southern was willing to sit down and meet with us to give some possible solutions to the train issues that we have been facing, and also offered some support along with local, state and federal funds that might be available for this project,” said Council President Brian Baine.

Terry Locklear and Amanda Landstreet, who are committee members for Third Saturday Downtown, addressed the Council regarding issues with parking for the event.

A letter was placed into two cars that park in places before businesses open for the day in order to get a good spot.

The letter was drafted by Councilmember Lynn Brewer. The letter was signed "Fort Payne City Council", but the whole council was unaware of this issue.

Brewer apologized stating, "I didn't know for sure that you guys didn't know what was going on. I was asked to compose the letter, I did compose the letter. It was my understanding it was put on two cars."

Locklear and Landstreet said they did not want to do anything that could jeopardize the success of the Third Saturday Downtown.

"I think the Third Saturday event is a great event and I feel that Terry and Amelia have done an awesome job with [it]. I encourage everyone to come out and enjoy and get involved," said Councilmember Baine.

In other business:

• The Council presented Steve Barkley with a retirement plaque.

• Jay Grubbs provided the Council with information from three architectural firms for consideration for upcoming capital projects.

• Robin Brothers was introduced as the new Parks and Recreation Director for the City. Brothers  worked for the City of Anniston, for over 19 years in the Aquatics and Fitness Center.

• City Clerk Andy Parker advised the Council that a resolution must be passed before before July 17,2018 in order to apply for grants to assist in the demolition of the old hospital site, if owner will turn over to the City.

• Discussed formally asking the DeKalb County Landmarks to transfer ownership of the Fort Payne Opera House to the City.

• Gave Sam Blevins and the Fort Payne Fishing Team $1,000 to use for expenses for their upcoming 4-day fishing tournament in Florence.

• The Council discussed the disposition of the vacant Cobble Building, at 8th Avenue and Gault Avenue North that is in need of repair.  Fort Payne businesswoman Vicky Kirby asked the Council what steps were needed to acquire the building for an entrepreneurial center.  Kirby will meet with the Council during the next work session to discuss her plans.

• Discussed allowing employees to “cash out” current vacation times twice a year.  City Clerk Andy Parker, Treasurer Jessica Moses and Human Resources Director Don Fisher will draft a resolution and present to council at a later date.

• Approved a streetlight request for Rebecca Dellinger and curbing requests for Robert Davis and Robert Joe Faulkner.

• Awarded bids for the Plant Mix and Binder to Wiregrass Construction.

The next meeting of the Fort Payne City Council will be held on Tuesday, July 3 at 12pm.