Rebuilding possibilities
by JENNIFER COHRON
May 16, 2013 | 2198 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Only one building remained to be torn down along Cordova’s Main Street going into the fourth week of the downtown demoltion project.  – Photo by: Jennifer Cohron.
Only one building remained to be torn down along Cordova’s Main Street going into the fourth week of the downtown demoltion project. – Photo by: Jennifer Cohron.
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CORDOVA — City officials have prioritized four projects to submit to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs as part of a new round of disaster recovery funding.

Long-term recovery manager Steve Ostaseski presented the list — a police/fire station, City Hall, infrastructure improvements for affordable downtown housing and a public works storage facility — to the Cordova City Council on Tuesday.

“We think those projects position us well for trying to set up Main Street for realignment,” Ostaseski said.

The city’s long-term recovery plan calls for connecting Main Street to Green Avenue at the top of the hill in order to establish a line along which new commercial and public buildings will be constructed.

ADECA will distribute more than $49 million later this year to communities affected by the spring 2011 severe weather outbreak.

Mayor Drew Gilbert said Cordova was mentioned several times Tuesday morning in an informational session for applicants hosted by ADECA.

“They understand our needs. They understand what we’re going after, and we’re going after it quite aggressively and with a unified plan,” Gilbert said.

Because the funding must be spent within two years, Ostaseski said the city is considering using a design-build model for completing the projects.

Gilbert said that process should proceed faster than the typical one of hiring one firm at a time and bidding out a project piece by piece over the course of several months.

“On the front end, you pick everything at once. That’s going to save on the time constraints,” Gilbert said.

Ostaseski said downtown demolition is on track to be completed well before the July 4 deadline.

In addition to overseeing that project, Ostaseski is also pursuing funds that could be used to resurface approximately a half-mile of roadway leading through the city and is reaching out to property owners whose land adjoins the former Piggly Wiggly site. He mentioned that the area could be useful for establishing a community garden in the future.

“It’s a lot of projects for a small city to absorb, but I think it’s all within the realm of what we can attack successfully,” Ostaseski said.

In other action from the meeting, the council

• Declared five trailers to be surplus property. Sealed bids will be accepted at City Hall through Tuesday, May 28.

The trailers, which were recently relocated from the old VFW to the sewer plant, were used for several months to house disaster recovery volunteers working in the city. Gilbert said the city will be keeping one RV to use as an emergency command post.

• Adopted an official city seal. Gilbert informed the council that the code of Alabama requires all cities and towns to have a seal that can be affixed to official paperwork in order to authenticate it.

The seal features flags of the United States and the state of Alabama, an outline of Walker County with the Warrior River and Cordova highlighted, mining equipment, a train, an image of the Indian Head Mill and the crest of the Long family.

• Discussed the possibility of placing stop signs at the intersection near the old high school and Gardner’s Gin Road to alleviate school traffic.

• Received an update from Police Chief Nick Smith.

The department has received a $1,178 traffic safety grant to cover overtime for extra patrols from Monday, May 20 to Sunday, June 2, which coincides with the Memorial Day holiday.

Smith notified the council that 20 warrants have been executed and $2,582 in outstanding fines has been collected since the department began using a national crime database known as NCIC in March.

Also, officers presented the Eddie Eagle gun safety program to Cordova Elementary School students on Tuesday and a shirt has been designed for the new Neighborhood Watch.