By Tanna M. Friday
TRUSSVILLE — Tuesday, during Trussville’s regularly scheduled council meeting, the Council approved an 18-month contract with Russo Corporation beginning the first phase of the city’s revitalization project known as Quadrant One.
Plans for a major redesign for the downtown area have been part of the city’s future outlook for years including Mayor Buddy Choat’s unveiling of the downtown redevelopment plan to local business leaders during a Chamber of Commerce luncheon in October of 2017 where he highlighted the city’s plan to enhance and energize the Trussville’s economic development.
“This time next year, you will be able to tell what the revitalization will look like,” Choat told luncheon members in 2017, referring to the city’s many phases.
Construction is scheduled to begin downtown next month.
According to Councilor Alan Taylor, there were seven people that took the Oct. 8, project bid package and one single bid which came in above in the amount of $19 million. The Council rejected the bids opened for public improvements in the downtown area known as Quadrant One, which is inclusive of the Entertainment District and awarded the negotiated bid to Russo Corporation as provided by the Public Works Bid Law with the bid not to exceed $15,236,237.
“Russo Corporation is owned by Keith Brown, who lives here in Trussville,” said Taylor. “He has worked diligently with the mayor and our folks to try to get this done. He knows how important this is to our city.”
The mayor asked Council President, Jef Freeman, for the opportunity to recognize individuals who were instrumental in the design process.
“Our design team has been working for quite some time to give us this product that you are seeing on the screen this evening,” Choat said. “I just wanted to recognize them and let you know how hard they have worked. They also know how important this is to our city.”
Choat recognized the project’s architects, engineers, electricians, and consultants who have on the design team. Others recognized included the Downtown Merchant’s Association and the Trussville Redevelopment Authority.
“We want to thank you all,” said Choat. “This has really been a team effort.”
“A little over two years ago, one of my favorite people that comes to our Council meetings told me that this plan was just a pipe dream,” Choat added. “I answered him and said, ‘Well, it is a dream, we are going to work towards it and hopefully get there.'”
“As it says up there on the screen, it really is going to happen,” Choat said. “Braden’s building coming down is part of this package we awarded tonight among demolition, landscaping, and building. This 18-month project will begin next month and I think the city is ready to see something started. It is going to be a challenge and may get ugly before it gets pretty.”
Choat thanked the council for working together to move toward this revitalization project.
“We appreciate what you have done in the leadership position to bring this forward,” Councilor Brian Plant said. “We all appreciate your hard work.”
Freeman added that he, too, has a special place in his heart for this project.
“I am delighted that we got to see the finish line,” Freeman said. “We are just excited that we are now moving ahead and I think it is going to be great.”
Highlights of the revitalization project on Quad 1 include parking, hardscape, landscape, utilities, stage, and pavilion design elements for the southwest quadrant of downtown Trussville, Quad 1. Other elements include razing the corner portion of the former Braden Furniture buildings for a public plaza.
The Mayor adds that the corner Braden building will be torn down to take part in the road’s widening, a pedestrian plaza, and other enhancements. The intersection of Main Street and Chalkville Road, also considered as the heart of Trussville, will be a gateway project providing the streets with sidewalks, an intersection with a wider turn radius, and decorative street lights.
Trussville’s $15.2 million 18-month public improvement project will run from December 2018 to July 2020.
In other matters, the Council approved:
- Minutes from Oct. 23;
- Resolution to reject bids opened on Oct. 8 on Quad 1 public improvements;
- Resolution to award negotiated bid Quad 1 as provided in Public Works bid law;
- Public Hearing Ordinance to rezone 3391, 3411, 3417, 3429 Robert Lee Road R-6 to RG;
- Public Hearing Ordinance to pre-zone 5475 Mary Munger Road from R-1 to Q-C-2;
- Public Hearing and Resolution for Park & Rec grant;
- Ordinance to annex 5475 Mary Munger Road subject to zoning approval;
- Resolution award bid Mall Tennis Court resurfacing;
- Resolution for longevity pay for city employees;
- Resolution to amend budget for Motorola police radio project;
- Proclamation for Inclusive Schools;
- Resolution to approve comprehensive fiscal policy document;
- Resolution to amend city’s vacation policy in employee handbook;
- Announce that second November Council workshop will be held before Council meeting on Nov. 27 at 5:30 due to Thanksgiving.
- Consent agenda;
- Accounts payable;
- AAMCA Conference for Porter on Nov. 28 in Orange Beach for $285 plus travel expenses;
- Licensing Conference for Poe on Jan. 16-17 in Prattville for $125 plus travel expenses;
- Fire Chief’s Executive Development on Feb. 5-7 in Tuscaloosa for $170 plus travel expenses;
- Managing Property & Evidence Room for Jackson totaling $325 plus travel expenses;
- Special Operations Training for Jones in Nashville for $460 plus travel expenses in Jan;
- NASRO for Antonio in Clanton in Jan for $495;
- Motorcycle Instructor training for Dunn in Feb for@1,895 plus expenses;
- Leadership skills for Hicks in Oxford Nov for $325;
- Child Sex Trafficking for Roberson in Dec. at no cost;
- IIMC Region 3 Conference for Porter in Feb. for $225 plus expenses;
- Lead program for Larry Howard in Mentone on Nov. 7-9 for $200 plus expenses;
- 2 Street Lights for Hawkridge Drive;
- Street light on Highway 11 at Trussville Springs entrance;
- Merit increases effective Nov. 24, for Police, Library, Parks & Rec Director, City Clerk, Police Chief, Fire Chief;
- Acknowledge retirement of Bobby Rowe, Dispatch on Dec. 1, 2018;
- Hire Library part-time Christian Vega;
- Authorize Mayor to pursue acquisition of property at Carrington between railroad and Highway 11;
- Authorize Mayor to enter into Consulting for economic Development with Dunlap for $1,200 per month; and
- Authorize Mayor to enter into Management Consulting Agreement with Watson for $1,200 per month.