Lanett council discusses water park along the Chattachoochee River

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, January 26, 2022

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LANETT — The Lanett City Council discussed a number of topics at a 6 p.m. work session on Monday, among them a water park on the Chattahoochee River, filling some vacant positions, setting the date for a Juneteenth celebration, a historic district on the northeast side of town and the possibility of an increase in business license fees.

Jody Lowery, the city’s point man on the airport project, told Mayor Jamie Heard and members of the council that he expected the newly rebuilt runway ready to land planes within two or three months. The runway and taxiway paving was completed in December. The runway lighting and some striping need to be taken care of.

A three-member committee of Council Members Tifton Dobbs, Angelia Thomas and Charles Looser will be proposing to the full council a job description for an airport manager.

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Several vacant positions need to be filled in the city’s electrical department. The former superintendent, Tony Chandler, left the city in December for a position with a private company. That position needs to be filled along with some linemen and positions in other city departments.

The East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission has some schematics of a proposed river park. It’s not an actual plan but shows what could be done in Lanett and West Point to serve as a magnet for potential visitors and residents of the local area. The drawings show some existing features such as the West Point River Park and the new sidewalks on North Lanier Avenue and the coming streetscape along First Street to form a walkway toward the proposed Bluffton Plaza (the old mill site) and a waterfront park on the other side of the CSX Railroad.

The schematic describes it as “an educative pathway that frames larger dialogues of the importance of industrial heritage while recognizing the environmental urgency of these urban shorelines.”

Council Member Tony Malone suggested that the council consider having a comprehensive plan, possibly in the form of a five-year, 10-year or 20-year plan.

In other discussion at the work session, a proposed Bluffton Historic District would include a number of beautiful, historic homes along North 14th and North 18th streets. It would border the neighboring Westside Historic District in West Point. City officials like the idea, and it would be a prestigious distinction for those who live inside the district. Formerly known as Heyman Street, North 14th Street was once the neighborhood of a Jewish community that included families that had immigrated from Europe in the 1800s. They worshiped at Temple Beth El, which was located on North 4th Avenue between North 14th and North 18th streets.

Since the meeting was a work session, no decisions were made, but some of the topics discussed could be action items in a regular session. This is the case for possible increases in business license renewals.

The council did talk about it on Monday.

“We haven’t had an increase in some time,” Heard said. “It could come up in our next council meeting.”

There was also a discussion of going up on fees for food trucks and peddlers.

The council is taking a look at replacing some aging water and sewer lines in the city.

“We will be talking to Clear Water (the city’s wastewater contractor) to see if there are some sewer lines that need to be replaced,” Heard said. “It could possibly be covered by American Rescue Plan funds we have.”

Heard said that one of his major projects as mayor is to clean up the city.

“I want to improve our streets,” he said. “We may need to replace pipes underneath the streets before we pave them. We will continue to tear down dilapidated houses and to clean up the lots. We will tag such houses for demolition. This will give the owners time to do something about it on their own. If they fail to act, we will move on it. We will be doing the same thing with junk cars.”