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Lanett council holds Zoom meeting

LANETT — Three incumbent Lanett City Council members and all five incumbents with the Lanett City School Board were certified to new four-year terms Monday evening.

All eight office holders qualified for re-election without opposition in the Aug. 25 municipal election. They are council members Tony Malone, Jamie Heard and Angelia Thomas and school board members Gwen Harris-Brooks, Katie Walton, Tony Edmondson, David Gagnon and Gail Holley.

“I salute you all for the hard work you have done since being elected,” Mayor Kyle McCoy said. “I am sure you will continue to represent Lanett citizens very well.”

The mayor has opposition from former council member Stanley Roberts in the upcoming election. Council Member Charles Looser is facing a challenge from former Recreation Director Ronnie Tucker and new Council Member John Motley is in a race with Tifton Dobbs and Tony Moffett.

As a safety precaution, the council met in a Zoomcast session. At the previous meeting on July 6, two people present later tested positive for COVID-19.

In action taken at the Monday meeting, a professional services contract between the city and Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood was approved. It is in the amount of $766,026 and is for services involved in the extension of the airport runway. This includes engineering and other professional services involved in grading, drainage, the base, paving, marking and electrical work.

“This is being funded by an $8.5 million grant we have received,” the mayor said.

A contract was approved for low bidder Chris Clark Grading & Paving for some street paving in the city. Clark’s offer of $160,000 was the lowest bid received.

The council renewed a line of credit the city has with Renasant Bank. It’s not to exceed $300,000.

“We do this every year for accounting purposes,” McCoy said. “It has a zero balance right now.”

In another unanimous action, the council approved a resolution backing the annual Chambers County Day of Prayer. This is the 19th year for the program and once again will be held on the east side of the county courthouse. It will start at 6 p.m. CDT (7 Eastern) on Friday, Aug. 7. Organizer Diane Perry is encouraging everyone to remain in their cars due to COVID-19 but take part in prayers to be relieved of the pandemic, for a safe school year and to pray for leaders on the local, state and national level.

“We will all beseech God for the strength and wisdom to make Chambers County a better place to live,” the proclamation reads.

The city did receive some good news on Saturday. Gov. Kay Ivey has approved a grant in the amount of $190,000 to continue the streetscape project. Tentative approval of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant was announced at a previous meeting, and the governor’s letter makes it official.

This most recent grant will be used on streetscape improvements on First Street. It will look much like what’s been done on North Lanier Avenue, with the wide sidewalks, benches, planters and decorative lighting. The first phase of the First Street project will run from Gwen’s Tax Service on the north side of the street and from South 3rd and 4th Avenues near the First Christian Church on the south side.

The North Lanier project will be finished out with a $250,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). This will provide the streetscape look on the east side of the street running from Cherry Drive to Tanyard Creek. In addition to the wide sidewalks, planters and benches, the wooden utility poles will be replaced with metal ones extending the decorative lighting toward the street.

Both projects will be done at the same time. Bids will be advertised starting on July 30 with the bid opening taking place on Aug. 20. Work should begin soon after that and could be completed by the end of the current calendar year.

The current project began in 2016 and could be completed in 2021, provided a Transportation Alternatives Project, or TAP, grant is approved next year. This would continue the streetscape look along First Street and would run from Highway 29 to Eighth Street near W.O. Lance Elementary School.

“In the last four years, we have been able to receive approximately $1.2 million in grant funding for our downtown project,” the mayor said.

Most of the money is provided by the federal government, but the city does put up a matching share.

Over the last five years, the city has paved more than 15 miles of streets in the city. Lanett has more than 63 miles altogether.

“Our main roads such as First Street and Eighth Avenue have been resurfaced so many times that the asphalt is topping the curbs in some places,” McCoy said. “We’d like to shift our focus to the neighborhoods, areas around the L.B. Sykes Community Center, Heyman Pines and Victory Heights. We will be doing some paving in the Pine Crest area of West Shawmut. The street there has some dips in it because of the sewer project we did there. We need to smooth those out and re-stripe the street.”

The paving grant approved Monday is for a portion of North 10th Avenue, North 2nd Court and North 3rd Court.