By Crystal McGough
CLAY – Clay City Manager Ronnie Dixon told the city council at Tuesday night’s council meeting that the Publix located at 5150 Old Springville Road in Clay will soon be undertaking a $600,000+ renovation.
“If you remember four years ago – it will be five when they finish – (Publix) did a renovation,” Dixon said. “So, they brought the plans in about three weeks ago to do another renovation. … It’s going to be a north-of-$600,000 renovation … so you’ll see a major renovation going on at Publix.”
Dixon also updated the council on the status of the Cosby Lake dredging project, which has had the lake closed to the public since July 2020. The dredging was originally scheduled to be completed by October 2020, but was delayed due to Hurricane Sally and other factors.
“We’re within just a few days of finishing it up,” Dixon said. “They have repaired the helipad and got new asphalt and paint down for that. The yard next to that still has to be graded and seed and hay put down.”
Dixon said that the city withheld a retainer of $12,077, which dredging company M & N of Alabama LLC has now sent an invoice for the city to pay. M & N of Alabama also submitted a check to the city of Clay for $15,200, due to working 16 days past contract.
“If everything stays like it is right now, they get the boom out and the grass fixed and we release the $12,000, then we will be at $467,912 for the entire project, which is about $30,000 less than what we budgeted,” Dixon said. “It’s going to be just about the right timing as far as weather and putting fish into the lake if we need to. I’ve already got Davis Fish Farm scheduled to come in and do a shock survey and try to evaluate what our fish population is. Sometime late April, early May, if we need to, we’ll be able to stock some more fish in there.”
M & N of Alabama LLC achieved the minimum 8-foot depth on around 88% of the area that they were supposed to, but under-ran the estimated silt by about 7,000 cubic yards, Dixon said.
“Everything looks good,” he said. “You can tell how much deeper the lake is just by the color of the water.”
Councilor Dennis Locke asked if the city would consider having a grand re-opening of Cosby Lake to celebrate the end of the project.
“There’s been a ton of people wanting to fish,” Locke said. “I know they certainly have been using it to walk and other things; they just haven’t been able to do anything in the water.”
Dixon said that the city could look into the possibility of putting together an event.
At this time, however, it appears that the city of Clay will not be holding its annual fishing rodeo in 2021, which has been a much-anticipated staple in the community since 2011.
“Where we’re going to have a problem with an actual rodeo like we’ve had before is that the water is now 8-feet deep, so the idea of putting a net in there and being able to corral those catfish so that the kids can catch them is going to be really hard,” Dixon said. “… We’ll have to devise some way to put a net system in there that would keep them from escaping. I don’t see us being able to do that by June.”
Dixon said that the city would put thought into how to make a fishing rodeo work in the future, and Mayor Charles Webster said that he is hopeful the city will be able to have a rodeo in 2022.
“It might be too quick to have it this year, but I’d like to maybe next year get it back going,” Webster said.
Concerning a proposed rock quarry that has been of major concern to Clay citizens, Dixon said that the city has “had no communications at all” from either landowner Walker Family Holdings Ltd. or potential operator Vulcan Materials since an annexation agreement failed to pass the city council in October due to no motion.
The next meeting of the Clay City Council will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2020, at 6 p.m. via Zoom. The public is welcome to attend the virtual meeting and can contact City Hall for login information.