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City of Valley agrees to seek John Soules Foods grants

VALLEY — At its Monday meeting, the Valley City Council unanimously approved a resolution to seek two grants that are needed in the John Soules Foods project.

A Community Development Block Grant in the amount of $500,000 and an Appalachian Regional Commission grant in the amount of $250,000 are being sought. If these two grants are approved, there will be a local match requirement of $500,000 that will be shared between the city, the East Alabama Water, Sewer and Fire Protection District and the Chambers County Economic Development Board.

This money is needed to fund some infrastructure improvements that will be needed before the plant can go into production. The new plant will be making lots of wastewater discharges in the late-night hours. New underground lines and a lift station will be needed to accommodate this.

John Soules Foods will be bringing around 200 jobs in its first year of production and up to 500 when in full production in three years.

The council also approved a resolution granting Mayor Leonard Riley the authority to spend up to $150,000 on road improvements at the Valley Industrial Park.

There’s a need to build a road at the end of the four-lane access road behind the Lanier-Carter site, not far from the 30-acre site owned by Scannell Properties and where the WestRock distribution center is being built.

“We will discuss this further at our first meeting in June,” Riley said. “We need to build a road and have water and sewer lines along it.”

In other action, the council approved a contract for Game Day Athletic Surfaces to level the playing surfaces at Valley Sportsplex, Ram Stadium and the practice fields behind the Community Center. The total project will cost a little less than $65,000. The Chambers County Board of Education will foot the bill on the Ram Stadium improvements and Point University will pay for the work to be done behind the Community Center.

Mayor Riley said that laser top grading needs to be done to athletic surfaces three or four years after they are first laser graded and then every six to seven years after that.

The council also took action on some dilapidated properties in the city.

The meeting began with a public hearing to determine the cost of having dealt with five properties. Building Inspector Reid Riley informed the council on what each clean-up cost the city. In the regular session that followed, the council imposed liens on those properties to recover costs.

A lot located at 1500 54th Street cost a little more than $1,000 to clean up. The other properties cost much more, largely because they involved asbestos abatements. A site located at 121 Patton Hill cost $5,750, one located at 3154 Columbus Road cost a little less than $5,500, a lot on Summerhill Road cost just over $9,700 and a lot on G.I. Street cost around $5,750.

The council declared public nuisances and authorized action to clean up sites at 1125 Foster Circle, on Trail Street and Bennett Street.

The council terminated a janitorial services contract with Harris Janitorial after the contractor defaulted on the terms of the contract.

Valley Parks and Recreation Director Laurie Blount reported that the Recreation Department’s track team had recently taken part in a district meet in Lincoln, Ala. More than 50 youngsters participated, and more than 30 of them qualified for the state meet to be held in Trussville.

Blount said a senior softball tournament will be taking place this weekend at the Sportsplex. She said that a lot of teams are entered and that it should be a fun event to watch.

Valley High’s graduation ceremony will be taking place at Ram Stadium on Tuesday, May 22. She cautioned people who are planning on coming to the Community Center at that time to expect a lot of parked cars and lots of vehicles leaving when the program ends.

Blount said that the Community Center will be on the holiday hours or 7 a.m. till 4 p.m. on Monday, May 28, which is Memorial Day. The Community Center will be hosting the first session of the District Masters Games on Friday, June 1.

“The senior center is open, and it’s awesome,” Blount said. “Our seniors are really excited about it. They had their first lunch there today.”

“It’s good to have it open,” Mayor Riley said. “It’s been a long haul to get it done.”

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be taking place at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 11.