City to talk final plans for sports complex

The council discussed future maintenance on the DeKalb Theatre marquee, which the city is spending around $15,000 a year to repair.

The Fort Payne City Council will be meeting for a work session after the first of the year to discuss final layouts of the newly proposed sports complex.

Council President Brian Baine set the work session for January 14, 2020 at Tuesday’s council meeting.

Council President Pro-Tem Wade Hill said regardless of how long the project may take to complete, it has to have a starting point.

“It may be four or five years in the building, but we have to start somewhere,” he said. “We have some property and we have some layouts and some fields designed, so this [the work session] will give us the opportunity to get those final layouts of the fields so the engineers can design them and we can say, ‘This is what we are going to do,’ because we want to have this well under construction by the middle of the spring,” he said.

The work session will be at 11:00 at the Fort Payne City Hall.

The council also discussed future maintenance on the DeKalb Theatre marquee.

Human Resources Director Don Fischer said the city is spending around $15,000 a year to repair the sign.

“It seems like every time it rains it [the sign] goes right back out,” he said. “There is a seal somewhere that can’t be sealed off, so I suggest after the first of the year, we look at a major redo of that sign so we can stop spending money to fix it all of the time.”

Fischer said the city is looking at spending between $60,000 and $70,000 to replace the sign. He said that figure is the estimated cost of replacing all of the neon lighting, the electrical parts inside the sign, and to also change the marquee to a digital one.

“I keep sending these bills to be paid because whenever the “E” goes out, it’s a $750 repair. When another letter goes out, it costs another $750 and it’s time to stop that,” Fischer said.

“A lot of work needs to be done on it. We can either keep getting bled or we can fix it.”

The council agreed on the importance of maintaining the sign’s original appearance.

“Have you found anything that is more like the retro look instead of just the bright LED stuff,” Hill asked. “We want to keep that original look as much as we can.”

Mayor Larry Chesser said the sign has been being repaired by a company in Huntsville because that was the only company the city was aware of. He said the city recently got the contact information for the company that worked on the Cricket Theatre sign in Collinsville and plans will be made to contact that company after the first of the year.

The council also:

• paid the monthly bills

• approved Resolution 2019-45, declaring a certain police department vehicle surplus

• approved Resolution 2019-46, authorizing the city’s enrollment in the Alabama First Responders Benefits Association as required by Act 2019-361

• approved the alcohol license application for Not Your Mama’s Deli, located at 203 Gault Avenue S., contingent on owner Jimmy Ballinger meeting certain requirements

• authorized annual bids for fuel, materials, services, etc.

• set the date of January 21, 2020 as the date of a public hearing to receive comments for or against a proposed un-open alley vacation just south of the Edward Jones office at Gault and Seventh Street N.

• set the date of January 21, 2020 as the date of a public hearing to receive comments for or against the proposed re-zoning of approximately 10 acres of farmland on Airport Road just south of GH Metal Solutions from rural farm to M-1 (light industrial).

• discussed selling approximately 2 acres of city property to Gil Graham.

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