Council moving forward with recovery projects
by Jennifer Cohron
Jul 13, 2013 | 1699 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cordova City Council will vote during its meeting Tuesday to go after nearly $10 million to begin rebuilding the downtown area destroyed by the April 27, 2011, tornadoes. Daily Mountain Eagle - Jennifer Cohron
The Cordova City Council will vote during its meeting Tuesday to go after nearly $10 million to begin rebuilding the downtown area destroyed by the April 27, 2011, tornadoes. Daily Mountain Eagle - Jennifer Cohron
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CORDOVA — The Cordova City Council will vote Tuesday to pursue nearly $10 million to begin rebuilding downtown.

A special meeting has been scheduled for 6 p.m. at city hall to approve a resolution requesting the funds from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

If approved, city officials intend to use the money to build a police station, fire department and city hall/library as well as realign Main Street so that it connects to First Street just below Long Memorial United Methodist Church.

Long term recovery manager Steve Ostaseski said ADECA representatives are expecting all proposed projects to correlate with properties that were damaged by the April 27, 2011 tornadoes.

He added that because state officials have not shown the same interest in the realignment of Main Street as local leaders do, the city hopes to underscore its importance with the placement of the three new construction projects.

“If we were doing modern strip development, we’d be building four or five parking spaces for every 1,000 square feet. We’re just making that parking on the street. That’s the logic that we’ll be using with ADECA,” Ostaseski said.

Ostaseski also said the city will need to dip into its insurance proceeds to finish designing the projects that are being presented.

Ostaseski provided an update on the grocery store project as well.

He said the design now includes 1,600 square feet of retail space. The site will also include a small park, partially to prevent the expense of a retaining wall.

Site preparation is now expected to begin in September.

“We’re trying to make all this work within the $1.4 million budget we have from HUD. We think we can,” Ostaseski said.

The preliminary site plan unveiled at this week’s meeting also shows affordable housing located on the new Main Street on the former Piggly Wiggly land.

Several citizens expressed opposition to that aspect of the plan after it was posted to the city’s “Cordova Conversation” Facebook page on Wednesday.

Mayor Drew Gilbert responded that discussions with planner and economic developers led local leaders to conclude that affordable housing would facilitate vitality and growth in the new downtown.

Gilbert also challenged residents to consider a model that has proven successful in other areas.

“Something that we must remember is that Cordova had about 70 percent vacancy in downtown before we were struck by the tornadoes. We must change our previous way of thinking and design that led us to this, otherwise why would we expect a different result?” Gilbert said. “Walkable, livable downtowns are economically thriving downtowns. This is our desire, and our plan will accommodate such.”

Later in the post, Gilbert cited Birmingham-based Sloss Real Estate as the developer associated with the proposed housing.