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November 22, 2012 Issue

Renovations under way
County follows citizens’ advice
Wadley breaks ground on new city hall

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Renovations under way

By Oraleethia Morgan and Frank Easterlin
Apprentices

You don’t get nice, new sidewalks without a little rubble, mud and puddles.

Over the past few weeks the renovation phase of Louisville’s most recent Georgia DOT Transportation Enhancement grant project has begun.

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The old concrete from The Book Worm extending to just in front of Citi Trends is in various stages of being marked, broken up and removed.

The brick work in front of the small brick building where Comcast is located has been replaced with concrete in a pattern similar to that on the opposite side of the street.

Louisville City Administrator Don Rhodes said the renovations are to take place on the west side of Broad Street, from the Pal Theater to Green Street. He said the project will replace the entire sidewalk, repair the water fountain and tables will also be added to the downtown area.

While many local merchants may be anticipating the improvements’ completion, Rhodes said some of the store owners are not happy about the timing of the construction phase.

“It is a construction project, which involves deconstruction also,” Rhodes said. But he said he is also trying to work with the merchants.

The city will have to provide a daily inspector, said the city administrator; the inspector has to be approved by the Georgia DOT.

The city administrator said they hired Olly Freeman, who Rhodes said is certified for inspection processes.

“He will be on site every day to make sure the project conforms to DOT specifications,” said Rhodes.

The destruction process of the side walk is currently under way. The construction teams started pulling up brick in early October and are now laying down new brick in front of the Home Fresh Bistro, but won’t extend it quite as far as the old pattern.

The renovations will have no effect on the city’s budget, said Rhodes.

The city administrator said the city had originally applied for a $500,000 grant, but was awarded $283,000.

The TE Grant will complete Streetscape Phase Two, said Rhodes.

He explained that Streetscape Phase One involved previous renovations made to a portion of the downtown area.

Rhodes said Phase Two is set to complete the downtown renovations.

Rhodes said the Phase Two project was split into Alternatives One and Two. Alternative One’s renovations are work on the median and fountain on the south end of Broad Street and Alternative Two’s renovations were to the rest of Broad.

Rhodes said it took the city a while to get to this point. A number of plans had to be submitted to the Georgia DOT for approval.

The company in charge of the downtown renovations is Pinnacle International Inc. out of Woodstock, and they were the low bidder with a bid of $223,561.

He said the company was also awarded the Alternative Two portion of the project with a bid of $58,195. The city administrator said the city will have to negotiate with the contractor to make sure the project will not go over budget.

The renovations began more than 5 years ago and are still in progress. All plans have been approved by the Georgia DOT.




County follows citizens’ advice

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

In a public meeting Tuesday, Nov. 13, the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to amend the county’s proposed biomedical waste ordinance.

Public hearings were necessary when Jefferson County Administrator Adam Mestres discovered the ordinance, originally passed by the commissioners in 2005, had not had the three required public hearings.


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Those hearings were scheduled so the ordinance could be properly adopted, Mestres said.

Protests during those meetings, mainly calling for an ordinance with what one citizen called “teeth in it,” convinced the commission to change the wording of the ordinance.

During the third and last public hearing, which was held prior to the commissioners’ regular monthly meeting, several citizens expressed their concern about biomedical waste being allowed into the county.

The ordinance as originally written required an application fee to be paid to the county for a business to dispose of biomedical waste inside the county and for fines in case of an accident or spill.

Charles Lewis, a spokesman for an environmental activist group in the county, asked the commissioners if they knew of anyone who wanted to have such a business. The commissioners said they did not.

Lewis suggested the ordinance be written in such a way no one will want to bring biomedical waste into the county.

“Make the application fee $1 million,” he said. “The fine is $1,000. Bump it up by 10 or 100.”

Geary Davis, another concerned citizen, asked if the public hearings and the ordinance were brought about because of a biomass plant being built in Wadley.

“A few weeks ago, Adam (Mestres) was looking over the ordinances and noticed the biomedical ordinance had not had public hearings and wanted to go ahead and have those so the county would have something in place,” Commissioner Wayne Davis said.

Mestres was absent from the meeting because of illness.

Commissioner Tommy New asked the county attorney, Mickey Moses, if changes were made would the county have to hold more public hearings.

William Rabun, the commission chairman, pointed out the county would also be required to re-advertise the meetings and the ordinance.

“I don’t think the fines are high enough,” said Dwayne Morris, another citizen and a councilmember from Bartow.

“I think the penalty for crossing the line should be way more,” he said.

Another citizen suggested the county have such businesses pay a fee up front and set that aside to be used as a clean up fee.

Another citizen expressed her concern about impaired wetlands in the county.

“It is really important that the county identify those wetlands and protect them,” she said.

During the regular meeting that followed, New made a motion to change all the fees.

“Anything that’s in there, fees, fines, to $1 million across the board,” he said.

Wayne Davis said he would like to have included a moratorium on such businesses until the three public hearings had been held dealing with the new ordinance. New accepted the change; and, the motion passed unanimously.




Wadley breaks ground on new city hall

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

About 50 citizens attended a groundbreaking ceremony for Wadley’s new city hall, Monday.

Wadley Mayor Herman Baker said, “I’m thrilled to welcome you all. We’re glad you’re here.”

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Lil Easterlin, chairman of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and the event’s emcee, introduced Jefferson County Commissioner Gonice Davis whose district includes Wadley.

“He went way out on a limb more than once for Wadley and Jefferson County,” Easterlin said.

Davis thanked the citizens for supporting and voting for the SPLOST, which helped make the new city hall a reality. He said the new city hall is “a great project for the city of Wadley.”

“It’s pretty exciting,” Easterlin said. “It’s very exciting to see what Wadley is doing. It’s really exciting to see all of this and your support of it.”

“I thank God that He has allowed this day to happen,” Wadley City Clerk Sallie Adams said. “I want to thank the mayor and the city council.”

Adams said several years ago, the mayor, council and the city hall staff saw a need for a new city hall.

“If you keep seeking, keep knocking, something’s going to happen,” she said.

Adams also thanked State Farmers Bank in Lincolnton for providing the loan that will supplement the SPLOST funds being used to for the construction of the new city hall.

She said construction would start full force next week with an anticipated completion date in July.

“So they are going to be moving fast,” she said.

Ben Carter, the architect who designed the new building, said it will be 8,000 square feet with a nice room for the city council meetings.

Easterlin said it was exciting to have a new city hall that will really serve the people of Wadley.







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