Lanett City Council tackles overgrown lots and garbage rates

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, July 19, 2023

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LANETT — At its Monday meeting, the Lanett City Council approved an expenditure of $87,000 for the Lanett City School System. This funding will pay for a study to determine if a turf field is suitable for Morgan-Washburn Stadium.

In recent years, rainy weather has left the field in an unplayable condition, forcing games to be played in other stadiums. In 2017, Lanett had to play a playoff game at Ram Stadium due to poor playing conditions on the LHS field. A season opening four-team tournament was switched to Roanoke for the same reason. Two years ago a home game with LaFayette was switched to Opelika because of the p;laying conditions in Lanett.

Athletic Director Clifford Story told The Valley Times-News Tuesday morning that the study would take soil samples and look at the drainage system to see if the field would be suitable for turf.

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If it is, it would take between 60 and 90 days to install it. There’s not enough time to have it put in before he 2023 season starts.

“We could start doing it as soon as this season is over and have it finished well before the 2024 season starts,” Story said. “This type of field will not only allow us to play home games after a rainy spell, it will also be a great addition to the city. The Recreation Department could have events there.”

The playing surface would be similar to what’s at Handley in Roanoke and at Opelika High. It would be bright green with much more visible sidelines, goal lines and yard lines. The school logo, the big Panther head L, would be at midfield with “LANETT” in big letters in one end zone and “PANTHERS” in the other.

“I think we can get the prep work done before this coming season and be ready to go with the installation following the season,” Story said.

In other business at the Monday council meeting, the council set new rates for garbage collection. The residential and commercial rates are going up. They will be $21 per month per can. The commercial rates will be going up from $14 a month to $21. The residential rates will be going from $17.82 to $21.

What this means is that better service will cost a little more.

The council approved resolutions for a vacant property to be declared a public nuisance and for 19 vacant lots to be declared weed nuisances.

The abandoned building is located on the 2200 block on SW 15th Avenue in the West Shawmut neighborhood. The roof has collapsed on the building along with several concrete walls. The building is owned by the Helping Hand Mystic Church of Spiritual Prophecy, which has been inactive for years.

City Inspector Johnny Wood told the council that he has made repeated attempts to contact the owners but has not been able to do that. Nearby residents have been asking for the collapsed building to be cleaned up. The council’s action on Monday will allow that to be done. A lien will be placed on the property to collect the city’s cost of doing this. If anyone comes forward as the owner and tries to sell the land, they will have to pay the lien to get that done.

More than likely, the land will sit there with no one claiming it.

The weed liens that were approved included 19 separate sites. These are lots where the grass is not being cut, and they look unsightly especially at this time of year .

Wood told the council that this is the first action to be taken on overgrown lots in the city, and that more action will be taken. He told them that there’s probably at least 60 overgrown lots that need to be cut.

In each case, a lien will be placed on the site. This will help the city reclaim the cost of cleaning up the site.

“This is the first step,” Wood said. “The owner will be sent a certified letter that they have 21 days to get their property in order. If they don’t, the city will proceed to clean up the lot. They will then have a lien placed on the property.”

The council approved a resolution to seek a $470,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for a water improvement project on South 6th Street. A water main along with some fire hydrants and water service transfers need to be replaced.

The council approved a proclamation in support of this year’s Chambers County Day of Prayer. A copy of it was given to event organizer Diane Perry. She told the council that this will be the 22nd year a Day of Prayer has been held just outside the east side of the Chambers County Courthouse. The first one took place in September 2001, only a few days before the 9-11 terrorist attacks. This year’s Day of Prayer will be taking place on Friday evening, August 4th.

“We must continue to come together in praying for our county and our nation,“ the proclamation reads. “We urge all local citizens to join together to pray for our leaders, our state and our nation as a whole so that in a spirit of trust, cooperation and goodwill we all may beseech God for the strength and wisdom to make Chambers County a better place to live.”