Mayor Drew Gilbert said the city recently requested bids for architectural, engineering and delivery services related to the project, which is being funded through a $1.4 million disaster-related Community Development Block Grant.
Council members voted to hire Gardner Architects, LLC; Spencer Engineering, Inc. and Community Consultants.
Gilbert stressed the importance of the decisions being made as council members browsed all of the proposals that were submitted.
“This grocery store is going to be the first thing coming back in our downtown area,” Gilbert said. “The design of this is not something we take lightly. I think it’s something that is going to set the tone for our entire downtown district moving forward.”
The city received three bids for architectural services.
Gilbert said that while all of the candidates under consideration were highly qualified, he was looking specifically for a firm that would respect Cordova’s past while also bringing the city into the 21st century.
Gilbert added that working with the city on previous or current projects was not necessary or even desired.
“What I looked to do was involve some other firms, get some other visions and let these ideas all co-mingle. Rather than having one firm do all of our projects from here on out, we could have multiple firms doing different projects,” he said.
Gilbert’s recommendation to the council was Birmingham-based Gardner Architects. The Berry Community Center is among the firm’s projects.
From the four bidders for engineering services, Gilbert recommended Spencer Engineering in Birmingham.
Gilbert said he has been impressed by several examples of the group’s work that he has seen. The firm also recently assisted the city with plans for a potential new complex that would house the fire and police departments.
“They have never actually done a project for Cordova, and I like the idea of bringing in that new vision and that new blood,” Gilbert said.
The only bidder for delivery services was Huntsville-based Community Consultants Inc. The firm’s president, Peggy Matthews, has worked with the city on several projects in recent years and is the grant administrator for the grocery store project.
Gilbert said the firms hired Tuesday night have 60 days to design plans for the grocery store.
“At that point, we will put that project out for bid. I would say that within the next three to four months, we’re going to see construction begin on a grocery store in our downtown area,” Gilbert said.
In other action, the council:
•hired Lonnie Shepard as a part-time dispatcher at a rate of $8.75 per hour.
•approved Hugh Plylar, Daniel Minor, William Courington and Eric Kilpatric as the first members of the police department’s new reserve officer program. Assistant chief Zak Green recommended the men to the council after interviewing nine individuals for the positions.
Green said reserve officers will carry their own firearms after they qualify with the weapons.
Reserves will be required to ride along with a patrolman for a minimum of 16 hours per month and will also meet monthly.
The city will pay $150 per year per individual to have them covered by insurance. Reserves will not be paid for their service.
•received an update on the PD from Chief Nick Smith.
Smith informed the council that 42 reports were taken and 16 arrests were made in January.
The department also participated in a felony round-up and held a Neighborhood Watch meeting that was attended by 55 residents.
The next meeting is Thursday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. at city hall.
Smith said the department has also started converting to eCite, or paperless tickets.
Also, several of the Tahoes recently purchased by the city have been branded with Cordova’s new logo.
Smith thanked council member Stephen Tidwell as well as other members of Cordova Fire and Rescue for their assistance with removing the old decals. Their efforts saved the city approximately $400 per unit.