The Elba City Council moved forward with renovations for Hawkins-William Park during the council meeting Monday night, Feb. 10, when the council approved a new resolution for more work to begin at the recreational park. The work is part of a LWCF [Land and Water Conservation Fund] grant the city received for site improvements at Hawkins-Williams Park. The resolution approved by the council Monday night accepted a quote from McClain Contracting Company Inc. of Andalusia, Ala., in the amount of $174,566. Project engineer DeAnn Grantham, of Southern Engineering Solutions, said the quote includes all remaining proposed work for the Hawkins-Williams Park project except work on the bathrooms, which need to be made handicap accessible. She said she felt the bathroom work could be done for less than what the quote indicated on that portion of the project. The total construction awarded from the LWCF grant and match on the project was $278,000. The playground, which was previously completed at Hawkins-Williams Park cost $48,705.33. The new construction improvements approved during Monday night’s meeting will cost the additional $174,566. Grantham said that leaves $54,728.67 to complete the bathroom, and she said she feels the necessary work can be done within that funding availability by negotiating that part at a later date. In approving the recommendation from Grantham, she said, “We can move forward with all but the bathrooms and go ahead and get moving with the project. We don’t really need the bathrooms out of order during ball season anyway.” The council voted unanimously to approve the resolution on the proposed site improvements for Hawkins-Williams Park, minus the bathroom work. Grantham said lots of the work should be underway and/or completed by the start of the youth baseball/softball season this Spring. The council approved a FEMA legal contract Monday night to employ attorney Bart Boothe to provide certain legal services for the city involving parcels of property approved for voluntary participation in FEMA’s Stafford Act financial Grant to the City of Elba. According to the contract, Boothe will provide a title report on each parcel approved at a rate of $200 each; sale closing settlement services for any and all transfers of properties whose owners accept the offer extended to them to the City of Elba at a rate of $300 each for closings with no unsatisfied encumbrances, and $400 each for closings with encumbrances that must be satisfied at closing; and to provide a recorded deed document including Statement of Voluntary Participation to be executed by each Seller/Owner who accepts the offered amount to the City of Elba, upon sale closing, at a rate of $125 each. Lt. Russ Young provided a report from the police department to council members, and he noted the department is losing another officer to another local agency. He said the officer did say he would be willing to help out part-time still, if needed. Council member Gappa Wise asked Young if he thought money was the main reason so many officers leave to go to other agencies, and Young said yes. He added that while there can be other factors to the decision to leave, the main reason in most cases is money. Referencing this particular officer, Young said the sheriff in the county in which he will be going to work for, simply made the officer an offer he could not refuse. The next Elba City Council meeting will be Monday, Feb. 24, at 5:30 p.m. at Elba City Hall.

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