LaFayette council wants to meet with City of Valley to work together on land purchase for new high school

Published 8:40 am Wednesday, January 25, 2023

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At the Monday council meeting, LaFayette council member Tammie Williams proposed reaching out to the city of Valley to discuss purchasing a plot of land on Highway 50 together for the new consolidated school.

The council also plans to reach out to the Chambers County Development Authority, county commissioners and the Chambers County School District to be involved in the meeting.

The meeting’s aim is to work together to purchase land that is more centrally located between LaFayette and Valley. Williams hoped that the meeting would show the citizens of LaFayette that the council continues to stand against sending students to Valley.  The school system’s plan is to put a new, consolidated high school in Valley, though last week’s court hearing awaiting federal approval ended without a verdict. 

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“These are our children, and if we don’t fight for our children, nobody else is going to fight for them,” Williams said. “Valley, they’re fighting for their children down there. I think these children in LaFayette — Five Points, Milltown, Waverly — deserve the same fight from us.”

Williams said the proposal comes after receiving several emails from concerned citizens after the close of the hearing in Montgomery. 

“I support the consolidation a hundred percent, but I also think that there is room to come to a meeting of the minds,” Williams said. 

The council agreed for the city attorney to contact the entities this week to organize a meeting.

As a result of the court hearing, the CCSD and the Legal Defense Fund and Department of Justice have 60 days to look over all the evidence and witness statements before the judge reconvenes. 

Council member Michael Ellis said the city council has been fighting for the community’s interest since the beginning. Ellis called for all LaFayette High alumni, including those who attended before it was integrated, to come together.

“We’ve still got time to fight and keep fighting,” Ellis said.

Also, during the meeting Chattahoochee Humane Society President Dantzler Frazer and citizen Chuck Blanton spoke to the council about updating the city’s ordinance on the treatment of animals. 

The last ordinance was made in Dec. 1999. Frazer requested for it to be updated. The new ordinance would stipulate that chaining pets was an inhumane form of restraint and that non-breeding pets should be spayed and neutered to help with overpopulation. 

“‘Chaining’ is neither humane or safe,” Frazer said during the meeting. 

According to Frazer, chaining an animal to a confined area can have negative psychological and physical effects. Frazer also said the humane society is at full capacity with owner turn-ins, animal control dropoffs and one cruelty case. When the humane society runs out of space and supplies, some animals will need to be euthanized.

His request would also be lawful to enter any area where an animal was impounded for 12 or more hours without food or water. This amendment is based on a similar Tennessee law. Frazer and Blanton offered to help in writing the new ordinance. No decision was made about the request during the meeting.

During the meeting, Superintendent George Green presented the council with estimates for repairs on Yeargan Drive Paving, the Community House and the cemetery fence behind it and the little league field and the Avondale Ballfield.

The estimates for the cost of paving and repairing the ditches and crossways on Yeargan Drive were approximately $29,000. According to Green, the Community House needed a new heating and cooling system as well as a new fence for the historic cemetery behind it. The estimate for those costs would be around $12,000 to $13,000. 

At the little league field, the bleachers need to be replaced. Green said that replacing the wood bleachers with aluminum benches would mean less repairs. The benches would hold around 30 to 40 people. 

The concession stand and storage structure at the field also need to be replaced. Green suggested purchasing a 10 by 12 foot structure and placing it in a more central location on the field. 

The bases for the fields also need to be repaired to meet Alabama High School Standards at both the little league field and the Avondale Ballfield. The estimated cost of these repairs was $20,000.

The council decided to hold a work session on Feb. 1 to discuss the repairs further.