Steve Marlow with Alabama Power presents the Town of Rockford with a $1,000 check for the Good Roots grant. Pictured from left are Town Clerk Jennifer Tindall; Town Council members Kimberly Crowe, Robert Smith, Shirley Ogle, and Cordarius Lee; Marlow; and Mayor Scott White. Photo submitted
By Christa Jennings
Senior Staff Writer
Following a presentation and action taken during last Tuesday evening’s Rockford Town Council meeting, the town could potentially see a disc golf course in its future.
Franklin Bradley, a guest for the meeting, presented the council with an idea to bring a disc golf course to the town. He had previously met with Mayor Scott White, and they had discussed the possibility of putting the course throughout Magnolia Trail.
Bradley told the council that he would provide the funding, preparation and maintenance for the course through donors and fundraisers. He added that it would cost approximately $3,000 to $7,000 to build the disc golf course.
Bradley further explained to the council that no large trees along or through Magnolia Trail would be cut down, stating that disc golf wooded courses are best when they include trees and obstacles.
The only things that would be cleared for the course would be underbrush, saplings and limbs that previously fell as the result of storms. Additionally, he said that any trees less than 4 inches in diameter might also be cleared.
During his presentation, Bradley said that the nearest disc golf course is in Clanton. He mentioned that Clanton brings several hundred players each month to the area, with more players coming for tournaments that take place twice per year.
In discussion, Mayor White said that he felt the course would be a good thing for the town since it would bring people into Rockford to potentially spend money at the gas station, restaurants and local businesses.
White also pointed out that the course would increase the upkeep to Magnolia Trail, which is needed.
Councilmember Shirley Ogle asked when the course could be ready if the council agreed to move forward. Bradley said that, pending funding, he hopes to have the course ready by spring.
White said that the town would need to check with its attorney, Derrick Blythe, regarding potential liability issues, as well as discuss it with the Alabama Hiking Trail Society. White asked if the council wanted to make a motion to move forward with the effort, pending the outcome of those discussions.
Councilmember Robert Smith made a motion to look into it. He added that if Blythe recommends the town not do it or says there are liability concerns, then the town could cut ties with the project.
After brief discussion, the motion was passed by a majority vote of 3-1. Ogle opposed the motion because she wanted to research it further, and Councilmember Karen Hammond was not present for the meeting.
Also during the meeting, Steve Marlow made a presentation to the town on behalf of Alabama Power. He presented the council with a $1,000 check from the Alabama Power Foundation for a Good Roots grant.
The grant is to assist municipalities with planting trees. Marlow thanked White and Town Clerk Jennifer Tindall for their hard work on the grant.
He added that they put together a “great winning proposal.” He said that he hopes to be back at the council’s next meeting in regards to the Gateway grant for which the town applied.
In other business, White brought up the subject of fiber optic internet services. He explained that he was approached by Lamar Daugherty with Central Alabama Electric Cooperative, or CAEC, about running fiber optic through the town.
White had said that he would like Daugherty present to discuss plans with the council before any action was taken, but Daugherty was not present for the meeting.
However, White explained that the plan was to bury the fiber optic lines down the back roads to the CAEC office in Rockford.
White said he had asked Daugherty why they aren’t attaching the lines to the power poles like Central Access did and reported that Daugherty told him it was because Alabama Power would make them replace several of the old power poles.
White said he asked Daugherty what the town would be getting out of it and was told the citizens would be getting another option for internet service in town.
White further stated that the Sheriff’s Office, County Courthouse, Dollar General, and places in between are where the line would start, but that in potential agreement with the town it would eventually branch out to the area citizens.
Councilmember Smith asked if the post office, courthouse and other businesses are on board with the project. White said yes, that the courthouse and Sheriff’s Office are on board with it.
During discussion White also mentioned that CAEC would fix any ground that it tears up in the process and that it would also need to bore under some of the roads.
After discussion, Councilmember Kimberly Crowe made a motion to table the matter until Daugherty can be present for a meeting. The council unanimously approved the motion, and the item was tabled for a future meeting.
Also during the meeting, White discussed a potential police car grant, saying that the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, or ADECA, has a $550,000 grant. He added that each entity can apply for up to $24,000 with no match.
White said he would like for the police department to get a new vehicle with that money, if awarded. The grant funds would only cover the cost of the vehicle, and the town would need to add lights and decals, which would cost approximately $5,000.
White stated that he would not be able to get a Tahoe for the department, but that he was looking into Ford F-150s and Ford Explorers on the state bid list that would be within the budget. No official action was taken on the matter.
White also gave the council on update regarding the land survey the council had previously approved having done.
He said that he has made two separate appointments, but that both were “no shows.” He added that he hopes to have an update on that by next month’s meeting.
In personnel matters, White mentioned Earl Jones’ performance review, stating that Jones was four days away from his 6-month hire date at that time. White said that Jones does a wonderful job and always does what he is asked without complaint.
White further said that the town’s other maintenance employee makes $11 per hour and that he felt the council should give Jones a $1 per hour raise to match the other employee.
After brief discussion, the council unanimously approved giving Jones a raise of $1 per hour.
The town is also hiring a full-time town clerk, and the council unanimously approved running an advertisement in “The Coosa County News” for that position. Applications are available at Rockford Town Hall, and the deadline to apply is December 10.
In other business, the council also unanimously approved changing December’s meeting date to December 14 instead of the regularly scheduled date of December 21 because of the holidays.
As such, the next regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Rockford Town Council will be held at 6 p.m. December 14.