By Crystal McGough, copy editor
CLAY – During Tuesday night’s Clay City Council meeting, Clay city manager Ronnie Dixon gave news and updates regarding several major projects that affect the city. The first item that Dixon spoke on was the Birmingham Northern Beltline project, which halted in 2016 due to lack of funding.
“We had a meeting last week with the North Jefferson mayors to talk about the renewal of the Northern Beltline project,” Dixon said. “Senator Shelby has gotten behind it again and they’re re-funding the Appalachian Regional Authority, so it’s not a dead project anymore.”
Mayor Charles Webster and Dixon discussed that the project is expected to cost $3.7 billion, but that there is currently around $80 million to get it started.
“It’s a project that’s back on the books,” Dixon said.
According to Dixon, the Northern Beltline was not the only news that he and Webster obtained from the meeting
“As a result of that meeting, the mayor and I were also able to see drawings for Sweeney Hollow expansion,” he said. “They have committed that they are going to have it done by the beginning of school next year.
“It is fairly simple, the drawing that they came out with this time. If you start at where the short Brewster ends, from there to 25th (Avenue), in the areas where there’s not already a third lane, there will be a third lane … So it will be one lane going toward Pinson, one lane coming toward Clay, and a middle turn lane the whole way with an additional red light going into the school off of Old Springville.”
Dixon said that it is completely a Jefferson County project now that they have the drawings, and that the city is just waiting.
“Hopefully we’ll see that done before September (2020),” Dixon said.
During the pre-council meeting, Dixon updated the council on the latest news concerning the Cosby Lake dredging project.
“I had a conversation today with Volkert (engineering firm) concerning Cosby Lake,” he said. “Now they’re expecting first quarter of next year to get a response from the Corps (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers). They sent the samples, the sediment samples, and they were to be, as expected, from natural decay. It was all kinds of copper, iron, arsenic, everything you can think of, but it was no identifiable source. So they made it as ‘natural,’ what’s in nature as it decays over the years, collecting in the bottom.”
Dixon added that there has been no evidence of runoff causing the issues at the lake.
“It’s just a natural occurrence in nature and there’s a concentration there,” he said. “So Fish and Wildlife accepted that, but they added a different stipulation on turbidity and the testing, so now we’ve got to write another report … they want daily samples at Shadow Lake while they’re doing the work at Cosby to make sure that there’s no sediment flowing into Shadow Lake during the time.”
The city has already found three contractors who are willing to submit bids for the dredging job, according to Dixon.
“It’s going to be a voluminous request for bid and it’s going to have all kinds of stipulations,” Dixon said. “But we’re as far as we can go until we hear from the Corps, right now, because all of the reports that they’ve asked for have been submitted and the core sampling at the bottom has been done, and the report is generated.”
In other city business, the council held a public hearing concerning two houses: 2633 Chestnut Way and 5290 Baggett Drive. No one spoke on behalf of or against either house, so the council entered into Unanimous Consent and passed Resolution 2019-22, authorizing the elimination of nuisances on both properties.
The council also unanimously passed Resolutions 2019-23 through 28, concerning the abatement of weeds on the following properties: 5209 Baggett Drive; 5240 Baggett Drive; 5870 Brenda Drive; 5904 Elizabeth Drive; 5909 Elizabeth Drive; and 7535 Old Springville Road.
Nov. 27 – Employee safety meeting and Thanksgiving lunch for employees
Dec. 1 – Christmas tree lighting at Cosby Lake, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 3 – Chamber Christmas dinner
Dec. 11 – Employee Christmas dinner
Dec. 14 – Christmas parade, 3:30 p.m.
The next meeting of the Clay City Council will be on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, at Clay City Hall. Pre-council begins at 6 p.m. and the regular council meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.