By Crystal McGough, copy editor
CLAY — During the Clay City Council’s pre-council meeting on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, City Manager Ronnie Dixon updated the mayor and council on the status of some of the city’s works in progress.
The city has been working on the construction of four lighted tennis courts and four covered, lighted pickleball courts, and those facilities are expected to be completed in time to open next month. The courts will be located by Clay Elementary School, near the CCHS baseball field, and Dixon said that the city’s goal is to open the courts no later than Aug. 26.
“The tennis courts are about two weeks ahead of schedule,” Dixon said. “As long as it don’t rain, we’re going to keep on that … It won’t be long. We’ve been blessed with weather, as far as working.”
The city is also working on plans to build a new playground and splash pad near the baseball fields and practice fields located behind the historic Jayford Ware House, the former location of the Clay Public Library. The city plans to open the playground and splash pad the first week of April 2020.
Dixon shared renderings of potential splash pad and playground plans with the council members and said that those plans for the splash pad would make it the biggest one in the area that does not have a pool attached to it.
“You’ll see that all of this is handicap accessible,” he said. “… It’s not just ADA (approved); it’s what they call SNAP, which is Special Needs Adaptable Playground and splash pad. The splash pad is right around $200,000, the way it’s drawn; the playground is right around $140,000.”
Dixon said that the city would also need to spend about $75,000 on a building that will house restrooms, a manager’s office and a ticket office. It would also include an enclosed, temperature-controlled meeting room and two screened in patios, which could be used for parties.
“We’ll be working on it during the winter,” Dixon said after the meeting. “Our goal is to have it ready by opening day. The park opening day is always the first weekend in April.”
The tennis courts project and the playground/splash pad project each have a budget of $400,000.
Dixon also gave the council an update on the condition of Cosby Lake. Water quality testing and treatments were done on the lake last week, he said, and the results were good.
“The fish population is good, the PH and the acidity levels were where it’s supposed to be and, of course, it looks better than what it did last year at this time,” Dixon said. “So the weed management part is working … we had a good report from them on the condition of Cosby. I have not heard anything from the Corps of Engineers (about dredging the lake).”
Dixon said that a new, lighted fountain for the lake has arrived and should be installed in the lake within the next couple of weeks.
In other city news, the council passed two resolutions Tuesday night. Resolution 2019-12 authorized Mayor Charles Webster to execute an agreement between the city of Clay and AT&T Alabama for the continuation of AT&T paying a 3% franchise fee to the city. This resolution simply renews an existing contract.
“(Resolution 2019-12) is a continuation of the AT&T franchise agreement,” Dixon said. “It’s 3% of the total money that the consumer pays to AT&T for their U-verse, landline, whatever it is.”
Cell phone service is not included in the franchise fee, Dixon said. Only services that are wired within the city’s right-of-way are included in the fee. Other companies that pay franchise fees include, but are not limited to, Alabama Power, Trussville Gas and Water, and Charter.
Resolution 2019-13 authorizes the abatement of weeds and overgrown grass at several properties within the city:
•5219 Jean Drive
•5870 Brenda Drive
•5904 Elizabeth Drive
•5909 Elizabeth Drive
•7535 Old Springville Road
The next Clay City Council meeting will be on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, at Clay City Hall. The pre-council meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and the regular council meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.