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Commissioner addresses lighting issues on west side of Cordele

By BECKY CRISSMAN

becky.crissman@cordeledispatch.com

CORDELE — City Commissioner Vesta Beal Shephard addressed fellow board members Tuesday night in regards to the lighting issue on the west side of the city.

According to handout, Shephard distributed among fellow commissioners she had observed numerous signs around that area proclaiming “West Side too dark, unsafe, code red, call City Manager Beach, etc.” The signs have also been posted on social media.

“To this day, I have not received a verbal or written request from the West Side Too Dark Committee or any concerned citizen reflecting a need for more lighting on the West Side of Cordele,” said Shephard. “I took the liberty of consulting City Manager Beach and Commissioner Royce Reeves neither of which have received any requests for lighting or complaints that lighting is inadequate.”

Shephard further commented that she had taken the initiative recently to canvas the City of Cordele; North, South, East and West. She reported those findings to commissioners in the handout she distributed which read:

1. There is a streetlight at every intersection.

2. Increased lighting was noted on Georgia Hwy 280 and U.S. Hwy 41 within the city limits.

3. She found there to be increased lighting near businesses, churches, and governmental buildings. She noted that these particular groups pay for their security lights.

4. One light was discovered to be out. Shephard contacted Crisp County Power, who replaced the bulb that same day.

“I do not feel the city is obligated to provide extra lighting for someone who has not identified themselves to this commission,” she said. “The largest employer on the west side is Harris Waste Management and no complaints have been received from that company.”

After reviewing her findings Shephard offered several recommendations to the public.

1. If you notice a street light is not on, please contact 311, Crisp County Power or the City of Cordele.

2. In regards to homeowners Shephard said if they feel unsafe due to poor lighting to consider the installation of motion lights or flood lights or utilize porch lights. She said homeowners could also consider having a security light installed on their property and anyone interested in doing so should contact Crisp County Power for cost and installation.

3. Taking into account that numerous citizens rent their place of residence Shephard advised renters of private property or public housing to notify their landlord, rental agency or the Cordele Housing Authority if they feel there is not adequate lighting near their residence.

In a separate matter, Shephard requested the board ask city code officers to attend their next meeting on Tuesday, June 21. She said new commissioners and citizens may have some questions. Other commissioners agreed it would be beneficial and Beach was asked to set that up.

Anna Hurt addressed commissioners in regards to the Downtown Entertainment District. Hurt requested that commissioners consider altering an existing ordinance to allow the sell of alcohol in certain areas of downtown. Hurt said some establishments coming to the downtown area rests on the ability to serve alcohol in restaurants.

“This would not be for the purpose of encouraging bars or taverns, but to promote restaurants,” said Hurt. “It would apply only to those establishments whose food sales are 60% of their business.”

Commissioners did not vote on the matter but informed Hurt they appreciated her feedback on the situation.

In his report to commissioners, Beach presented several items for the board’s approval. The first of those was for the approval of a Beer Only — Consumed off premises for A&J Meat Market, located at 307 South 7th Street. Vinay V. Patel was named as the applicant. Commissioners approved the request by a vote of 3 to 1 with Jeanie Bartee being the only opposition.

Beach also submitted the Prison Detail Contracts with the Georgia Department of Corrections to commissioners to approve renewing the contract for fiscal year 2017. The contract would be in effect from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 and is for two prison crews. The contract price will remain the same as in the past at $39,500 per year, per detail. Beach advised that the contract is a budgeted item in the city’s general fund. Commissioners approved the contract by a unanimous vote.

The next item for commission approval was the donation of city property for easements associated with the 8th, 10th, and 13th Streets TE project. The parces for the project are; Parcel 15 0 an unopened street, approximately 600 square feet easement and Parcel 19 and unopened alley, approximately 100 square feet easement. Both parcels lie along the 10th Street Corridor for this project. The commissioners motioned and unanimously approved the easements.

The last item Beach presented for approval was the construction estimates for CSX Transportation Quiet Community Greer Street and Midway Road Projects. Beach advised that preliminary cost estimates had been submitted by CSX for approval before going to contract formulation. These estimates are based on warning system upgrades, remote monitoring and event recording, constant warning detection and signaling. The estimates are based on full closure crossing during the work by the railroad. The times will be five weeks for Greer Street and six weeks for Midway. The estimates are $241,801 for Greer Street and $369,401 for Midway Road for a total of $611,202. The board approved the estimates unanimously.

Also on the agenda commissioners reviewed written reports from various departments before adjourning.