City of Valley to investigate bridge replacement at Langdale Gym

Published 10:00 am Saturday, April 29, 2023

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VALLEY — The Valley City Council met in a work session on Thursday evening to review financial data for the first four months of calendar year 2023 and for Mayor Leonard Riley too brief council members on some items that could come up for action at the next regular meeting on Monday, May 8th.

City Clerk/Treasurer Cathy Snowden reported to the council that sales tax collections in the city are increasing at a steady rate. There’s a month-to-month increase of more than $50,000 (or $700,000 a year) from calendar year 2022. There’s also a healthy increase in business license revenue. “I think some businesses are coming back from Covid,” she said.

Mayor Riley talked to the council about an ongoing $27 million wastewater treatment plant upgrade that’s going on along the Chattahoochee River between the Langdale and River View communities. This is being done by a contractor for the East Alabama Water, Sewer and Fire Protection District to make sure the enlarged plant can easily handle the discharges when the John Soules Foods plant is in production with five lines.

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Riley told council members that the new plant is putting up some most impressive production numbers with the current tw0-line production. “They are wide open with two lines,” he said. “It should really be something when all five lines are running. They have close to 500 people working there now. John Soules Foods is very good to their employees, and they are donating to worthy causes in the community. They recently helped a church that had sustained some flood damage.”

In going over capital expenditures, Riley said that some new LED lighting had recently gone into the tennis courts across from Valley Community Center. The practice fields behind the Community Center will soon be aerated and resanded. “Point University is really using those fields for practices,” Riley said.

The mayor said Chris Clark had recently done some paving work in the city but was running around 60 days behind. He said that the paving work on Combs Road had been completed and that two new homes had gone up in the Camellia Crossing subdivision and that construction was under way on a third new home.

Riley said he had recently met with all parties in a bond hearing on the Riverdale Mill property. He said the current owners had offered to give the property back to the city. That could be the best option for all parties. It would then be the city’s responsibility to finish with the cleanup.

“It’s best to do that rather than arguing it out in court over the next year,” said Council Member Kendall Andrews.

The city recently called the bond after the owners didn’t finish the project after being given an extension to get it done.

The mayor told the council that the city’s land purchase from Valley Baptist Church was complete and that it gives the city contiguous property from the end of 30th Street to EAMC-Lanier Hospital. At some point in the future, a new road could be built off Highway 29 to this property, opening it up for development.

“We have been doing some clearing on the right side of the road on 30th Street,” Riley said. “We’d like to do some clearing on the left side, too, next to Waterford. We’d like to clean it up and sell it to a developer.

At this past Monday’s council meeting, the council authorized the mayor to negotiate the sale of some city-owned property next to I-85 to 4 Star Auto Auction LLC. They have offered $400,000 for the land. Riley said this could be ready for council action at the May 8th meeting.

Another project in the works is a 160-unit apartment complex on the Burney property between Fob James Drive and 55th Street.

An ammunition plant that could employ several hundred people is planned for the same general area. “I think we will know something in a few days on what they intend to do in the near future,” Riley said.

The mayor said a Fob James Drive business, Valley Collision, had asked to come into the city.

Public Works Director Patrick Bolt reported to the council on some bridge-related projects. He told them that the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) had recently looked at the bridge over Moore’s Creek on Fob James Drive and that some dredging needed to be done around its head walls. Some rebar and concrete could be needed to shore up the walls. This project would help avoid the buildup of silt at the bridge and could help with the water flow in periods of heavy rain.

Bolt said the work could be done for around $30,000 if the city does it but would probably rise to the $50,000 range if it is contracted out.

Bolt said the bridge over Moore’s Creek at Langdale gym is one of the oldest structures in town and may need to be replaced within the next five years. This project would likely cost in the $250,000 range. A bridge has to be open there because there are some houses on the east side of the creek and the bridge is the only way to get to Highway 29 from there.

Riley said he will ask the council to hire an engineer to make an estimate.

“I think we do need to reach out for options,” Bolt said. “We need to do something about this over the next five years.”