The Fort Payne City Council carried out Tuesday’s meeting agenda after acknowledging the absence of Councilman Gerald “Red” Taylor. Council President Brian Baine announced that Taylor was having a heart catheterization procedure done and asked that the community keep Taylor and his family in their prayers.
During the meeting, residents Joyce and Terry Davis addressed the council about some letters they have received in the mail from the Alabama Department of Transportation concerning their property.
Joyce said a survey firm was seeking permission to survey their land for the extension of Route 35.
She said if the route is extended down the mountain and around it, like she said she believes is supposed to do, it will go right through her living room and possibly “displace hundreds of citizens from their homes.”
Joyce asked if the council had a voice in the decision and if they have any information pertaining to the expansion of the route.
“Would you let me know if it is a possibility, a probability or a certainty that I will lose my home,” she said.
Mayor Larry Chesser told Joyce that the council does have a voice in the decision.
“We have a say in the matter,” he said. “What they are doing right now is a broad survey. They are trying to pick a route that will be the least disruptive. A lot of people have gotten these letters.”
Chesser said if ALDOT picks a site that looks reasonable, a local hearing will be held.
Chesser told Joyce not to worry, though, because the land survey is the “first step.”
“It may take years for there to be anything done,” he said. “We would hope that something would start within the next few years, but [ALDOT] has to look at environmental product situations and the whole nine yards. I don’t think that anyone should be getting concerned right now.”
City Attorney Rocky Watson reminded Joyce that a hearing was held years ago concerning a similar expansion project.
“There were hearings held about where to place Highway 3 after it crossed U.S. 11 in September of 1974,” he said. “So, something may happen soon, or something my never happen.”
Watson said that the state has been looking at solving the problem of Joe’s Truck Stop, which is a special wall that was built by Joe Faulkner in 1959 at the base of Highway 35 in Fort Payne to keep trucks from crashing on his property.
“The state has been looking at solving the problem that we have addressed previously about trains blocking and cutting Fort Payne in two,” he said. “They are looking at the problem again and this is part of that. Hopefully they will do something at some point, but at this point, this is just the start.”
Joyce thanked the council for the clarification.
“I was just concerned and wanted to know if this was something I needed to plan ahead for or not,” she said. “Thank you.”
The council also:
• heard committee and department reports.
• introduced Delvin George, the new program director for the Fort Payne Parks and Recreation Department.
• passed resolution 2019-33 authorizing Watson to file validation proceeding with the DeKalb County Circuit Court for the Development Authority with Valley Joist, LLC.
• passed resolution 2019-34, naming signatories to the city’s bank accounts.
• passed resolution 2019-35, adopting a transportation plan pursuant to the Rebuild Alabama Act.
• approved activity permits for Fort Payne High School’s homecoming parade from 3rd St. South to 8th Street North on Sept. 12 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
• approved a motion to buy more street lights.
• approved insurance of an alcohol license for F.C. Weiss, 213 Gault Avenue North. The Alcohol Committee approved and recommended forwarding the application for council approval.
• heard the mayor’s report.
The council addressed bids for the construction of the interior portion of the Fort Payne Public Works building, which were opened Aug. 12. Baine said only one bid was received, which was from Sam Construction in the amount of $559,000. As the only bidder, the price was negotiated. The council accepted the low bid of $473,027 per Public Works Director Tim Williams’ negotiation.