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|Ferriday pool, alley issues still unresolved|
The Ferriday Town Council delayed action Tuesday night on two issues which have often drawn heated debate in the past — the Ferriday swimming pool and renaming Morningstar Alley.
The Council plans to further study both matters.
A month after the Council voted 2-1 to change the name of "Morningstar Alley" to "Rev. Johnnie Hollins Alley," Mayor Glen McGlothin announced his veto of the resolution. The mayor said he signed the veto because two aldermen — Jerome Harris and Johnnie Brown — were unable to attend the last meeting and because several elderly residents living on the street have expressed concern about the name change.
McGlothin suggested naming the Florida Street Gym after Hollins because of Hollins' "love for children," but that drew an objection from someone in the audience. Johnnie Brown suggested naming a section of Morningstar Alley off Carolina that has no houses after Hollins, but that was also met opposition.
A suggestion to rename Seventh Street after Rev. Hollins would also meet opposition, said Alderman Gloria Lloyd.
McGlothin said the town would via letter seek the opinions of Seventh Street residents about naming that street after Hollins.
Lloyd said she would meet with the Hollins family to seek a resolution to the matter.
Concerning the swimming pool, Lloyd said McGlothin promised during the 2007 mayoral campaign to open the swimming pool if money to operate it could be obtained. She noted that the $300,000 Ferriday will receive from Wal-Mart next week, the second of 10 annual installments, could be a funding source. Wal-Mart is providing the town $3 million over the 10-year period in lieu of economic losses the town suffered after it closed the Ferriday location and opened a new store in Vidalia.
McGlothin said he wanted to open the pool, but said there were structural problems with the facility, including a crack in the bottom. He estimated that a new pool would cost $1 million to construct.
Robert Lee, chairman of Concordia Recreation District No. 1 Board of Directors, said there is a crack in the wading pool and that there is also a leak underneath the big pool.
Ownership of the pool was also discussed.
The recreation district donated the 53-year-old pool to the Town of Ferriday in July of last year after a dispute between Lee and former Mayor Gene Allen, who had authorized cutting a padlock placed on the pool gate by the recreation department because of safety concerns.
Lee had Bruce M. Carney of Warwick, N.Y, inspected the pool in 2007. Carney said the pool should remain closed because it posed significant safety, operational and liability concerns.
"We need something for our kids, but we have to be cautious," McGlothin said. "We don't want to put $300,000 into a pool and then not be able to fix it or maintain it."
Town attorney Anna Ferguson said the town would be unable to get insurance for the pool because their insurance company does not underwrite pools.
"A lot of towns have gone to water parks and sprays," McGlothin added.
The board approved the appointment of a committee comprised of McGlothin, Brown, Harris and Lloyd to study possibilities of reopening the pool.
Brown said he would like a recreation activity handbook published.
In other business, the board approved a resolution on the town's application for a 2008-09 Community Water Enrichment Fund Grant totaling $35,000 to be used to purchase equipment and meters to monitor water quality.
McGlothin said he will meet with state Bond Commission Thursday to request borrowing $2.3 million to provide repairs and upgrades, including new meters, for the water system as required by state auditors in 2006.
A 15-year bond woul carry an interest rate of 5.15 to 5.25 percent interest, according to bond attorney Michael Offner.
Offner said if the money is obtained it will take 30 days to get meters and two weeks to have them in place. He said the two tanks should be in place in six-to-eight months.
"We have to do this because we're not talking about the National Guard coming in if our tank collapses, we're talking no water," McGlothin said.
In other action, the board met in executive to discuss litigation involving architect Chris Williams and will discuss it further at a special meeting on Feb. 26.
The board voted to re-advertise for an excavator. McGlothin said the excavator will be used to tear down about 10 to 15 condemned houses, including the Davis Mortuary.
McGlothin also informed the board that hopes the Human Services agency will remain in Ferriday and not be moved to Vidalia as planned. McGlothin said the service is used primarily by residents who cannot drive to Vidalia to have access to its services.
The board also discussed speed bumps or Kids at Play signs for Delaware, Maryland, Georgia, Carolina, Alabama Avenues and Martin Luther King Blvd, and the red light on E.E. Wallace Blvd. and Carolina Ave.
The board approved occupational licenses for attorney Andy Magoun and Ferriday Flea Market.
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