Mayor: Speed limit to be strictly enforced around new launch

By JENNIFER COHRON
Posted 6/14/18

CORDOVA — Mayor Drew Gilbert is strongly urging drivers to abide by the 35 mph speed limit at the end of Gardner's Gin Road to prevent accidents near the new kayak and canoe launch.Gilbert said one …

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Mayor: Speed limit to be strictly enforced around new launch

Posted

CORDOVA — Mayor Drew Gilbert is strongly urging drivers to abide by the 35 mph speed limit at the end of Gardner's Gin Road to prevent accidents near the new kayak and canoe launch.

Gilbert said one accident has already occurred at the launch, which is located near Neal Akins Bridge. 

"It's probably a combination of someone turning across traffic and someone driving too fast. We can control one of those things, which is driving too fast," Gilbert said during the Cordova City Council's Tuesday night meeting. 

Gardner's Gin Road has a 45 mph speed limit except from Neal Akins Bridge to the stop sign near the old Cordova High School.

Gilbert noted that enforcement of the 35 mph speed limit has been lax for years but the popularity of the new launch necessitates that drivers use caution near the bridge.

"We want that to be a good recreation area. Frankly, it can't be a safe area if we are driving fast through there," Gilbert said. 

Signs will also be installed to inform drivers that they are nearing the launch. 

Several council members remarked on how much the launch is being used. 

Council member Melody Dawkins said she met several out-of-town kayakers over the weekend who said they enjoyed the experience except for some difficulty getting in and out of the water.

"We're going to work on creating a better in and out right there. We're also going to concrete table down there for the fishermen," Gilbert said.

Council member Larry Sides thanked everyone who has used the launch for keeping it clean.

"They're not littering. I went down on Saturday and paddled and there was nothing on the bank," Sides said. 

Sides also suggested that the city organize a man-powered fishing tournament from Neal Akins Bridge to Barney Beach. 

The city of Cordova and Walker County Health Action Partnership worked together to create the Cane Creek access point, one of three in Cordova being developed as part of the Walker County Waterways Project.

The other access points are located at Disney Lake and Barney Beach.

The Alabama Power Foundation awarded $15,000 to the Alabama Scenic River Trail in 2017 for improvements at Disney Lake, located near the city's downtown.

Plans include construction of a multi-use dock as well as the addition of storyboards to highlight the history of the Disney Lake area and a new walking path to allow access to the dock.

Gilbert said Tuesday night that the city recently mailed out an Army Corps of Engineers permit application to allow work to move forward on construction of the dock.

The city will provide in-kind labor for the Disney Lake improvements but all funding is covered by the Alabama Power grant and a $50,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham to the Walker County Health Action Partnership for the Waterways Project.

In other action from the meeting,

• Gilbert announced that he is putting the finishing touches on a grant application to the Tony Hawk Foundation for construction of a new skate park. 

Landscape architect Chuck Kelly has already produced a rendering for the project, which would relocate the skate park to behind the outfield of the main baseball diamond at the Old Park. 

The city is applying for a $25,000 grant through the Tony Hawk Foundation. Gilbert estimated the total cost of the project would be $75,000.

The city is currently pursuing funding through local sources to work on phases of the Old Indian Head Mill park plan. 

Gilbert said funding is also available through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for park improvements.

"We could basically take the money we have locally as our match money for that Conservation and Natural Resource money. So whatever we get, we could probably double it," Gilbert said. 

• Nakia Belser was sworn in as the new District 6 council member. She replaces JJ Johnson, who recently resigned after he and his family relocated for his job.

• Jeff Traweek, owner of Jeff and Von's Restaurant, asked the city for help killing off the kudzu behind the building.

The kudzu, which is growing on land that is part of railroad right-of-way, is causing a rat problem, according to Traweek. 

Gilbert said he will reach out to the railroad and will also explore whether the city can use some poison from Walker County Commissioner Steven Aderholt's District 4 shop.