Malcolm selected for water board; Council hears update from director of Manitou Cave

Annette Reynolds, director and steward of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Manitou Cave, addressed the council this week to invite city officials to a ribbon cutting event on Sept. 18. R

The Fort Payne City Council voted Tuesday to appoint Steve Malcolm to fill a seat on the board of the Fort Payne Water Works.

He will replace former Council member Gerald “Red” Taylor, who was one of three applicants for the board seat, along with former Council member Randall Ham. Current Council President Walter Watson stepped down from the chair to nominate Malcolm, thanking Taylor for his service and acknowledging it was a “difficult decision because we can only choose one person.” Council President Pro Tem Lynn Brewer and Council member Johnny Eberhart joined Watson in supporting Malcolm while Council members Phillip Smith and John Smith both abstained on the vote for unspecified reasons.

In other business, the Council:

• greeted Annette Reynolds, director and steward of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Manitou Cave of Alabama. The cave was a popular tourist attraction from 1961 until closing to the public in 1980, but Reynolds said she has led educational group tours of the 10-acre property by appointment for thousands of people from 26 states and nine countries since 2015.

Reynolds introduced Shannon Smith, vice president of Tribal Connections Contracting. They invited the Council to attend an event on Sept. 18 to receive certificates for the Trail of Tears sites that are currently certified in Fort Payne as the National Park Service formally recognizes Manitou Cave as a Trail of Tears interpretive center and the Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce holds a 1 p.m. ribbon-cutting. Events will include a presentation on Sequoyah and the 200th anniversary of the creation of the Cherokee syllabary. Trail of Tears Association Executive Director Troy Wayne Poteete will discuss the Cherokee connection to Willstown, which became Fort Payne. Smith said the timing on the same day as the city’s Boom Days Heritage Celebration coincides with the association’s 25th annual national conference.

• approved amending the alcohol ordinance to permit DeSoto Golf Course to possibly sell beverages at a restaurant.

• approved a 4-way stop at Alabama Avenue and 10th Street North.

• approved a resolution declaring a 1995 Ford Bronco as surplus.

• approved a curbing request for Ray Gower at 6604 Hiawatha Drive NW.

The Council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for July 20.

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