PHOTO: The DeKalb County Road Department is currently fixing a creek crossing on County Road 173 at Buck's Pocket State Park, near the Jackson County line. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)
By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor
FORT PAYNE, Ala. — (Video at the Bottom) In Tuesday's (July 25, 2017) meeting of the DeKalb County Commission, the commission approved work to be done at Buck's Pocket State Park. County Engineer Ben Luther provided an update from the County's engineering and road departments.
Buck's Pocket has suffered from state funding cuts in recent years. In late 2015, it was announced the park would be unmanned, and would serve as only a day-use park, with it's campground closed. Luckily, the passage of Amendment 2 last year and the work of politicians, such as Senator Clay Scofield have saved the park.
Much of the infrastructure at the park has suffered as well. The DeKalb County Road Department is currently working on a project to fix a creek crossing near the Jackson County line. Pipe had deteriorated and started collapsing at the crossing, leaving a big void due to previous flooding.
"Just last week they started demolition work down at Buck's Pocket on a creek crossing, they are going to do the repair on. They hope to have that pipe in and back-filled this week. I was down there yesterday, and met with Tommy (Broyles) to look at a few things," began Luther.
"They've got most of it demo'd, they've still got some of the concrete to remove before they can start fixing the bedding for the pipe. I'm going to run down there later on this afternoon and check on the progress see what kind of progress they've been making, but hopefully they'll have most of the pipe in and backfilled by the end of this week. Hopefully the following week we can start on the concrete work, they've got to set the forms and the steel, and do that. We probably won't be hauling much chert this week, because all the trucks will be hauling dense grade backfill to Buck's Pocket," said Luther.
As Luther would later point out in the meeting, a contractor had came out earlier to replace guard rails several months ago. The work to be done at Buck's Pocket is a state-funded project, and Lambert Incorporated will be doing the concrete finishing on the project, as the county isn't set up to do intensive concrete work. The commission approved the project for $8500.00, and the state will be reimbursing the county for the work.
Towards the end of the meeting, District II Commissioner Scot Westbrook announced the dedication of a new boardwalk at the Jim Lynn Overlook at Buck's Pocket. The boardwalk provides access to the premier overlook in the park, and the old wooden boardwalk had become rotted and unsafe. Leadership DeKalb took on the project this year.
"A few months ago, Leadership DeKalb representatives came to me, and asked for assistance. Leadership DeKalb is a program that develops leaders throughout the county, and tries to keep them headed in the right direction, and teach them the ends and outs of being in those leadership positions. Each year, this group takes on a community project. This year, they took on the beautification of Buck's Pocket, which was on the edge of being closed, or shut down. They've redone the board walks and some of the parking areas, and the trails at the Point Rock area," said Westbrook.
The Ribbon Cutting will be held on Saturday, July 29 (tomorrow) at 10 am. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, Senator Steve Livingston, Senator Clay Scofield, Michael Jeffreys (Superintendent, Buck’s Pocket State Park) and Councilman Brian Baine (Leadership DeKalb Chairman) are expected to be in attendance.
"If you can make that, they would be glad to have you out there. And they've done some pretty good work, and it's just a very convenient coincidence that as they are planning to do their ribbon dedication for their beautification at the top of the pocket, our road department and the engineering crew has begun to work on the bridge demolition and reconstruction at the bottom. So the Buck's Pocket Park is coming together very nicely," said Westbrook.
Other items addressed at the Meeting:
- Approved a motion from District III Commissioner Chris Kuykendall to vacate a portion of County Road 862, as per a petition submitted by property owners. The portion is a dead end road.
- Approved a motion from District II Commissioner Scot Westbrook to vacate a portion of County Road 9.
- Awarded a bid to purchase an Asphalt Distributor from a county road department in Kentucky. The total purchase price will be $51,500.00, which includes transportation fee, as the truck isn't set up to drive that far. In earlier meetings, DeKalb County Road Department Director Tom Broyles discussed how an asphalt distributor would greatly improve the efficiency of work done by the department.
- Ordered new Kenworth dump trucks for the road department for $2.5 million, to replace the Mack Trucks that will be sold at auction during the next spring. The orders take six months to fill, and the trucks will be delivered in March.
- Sent a damage claim to the county's insurance carrier. The alleged damage was caused by a county truck on Highway 11.
- For the Revenue Commission, Revenue Commissioner Tyler Wilkes said that employee Barbara Sanders will be retiring and Friday will be her last day. Wilkes asked for permission to post the job of Property Clerk. The motion was approved.
- Approved a resolution to correct an issue with the Fyffe Election District.
- Removed Rita Raul as a temporary employee and moved her to the County's Commission payroll as a part-time employee.
- Appointed Chris Bryant of Farmer's Telecommunications to the DeKalb County Economic Board.
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