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Sprucing up downtown

Update on city projects

By Leigh Anne Butler

Several large projects in Tallassee are nearing completion; the $4.9 million Tallassee Sewage Disposal Lagoon project, the $3.5 million Benjamin Fitzpatrick Bridge project and the $2.5 million downtown project.

“I’m happy to cross one more project off our list,” City of Tallassee mayor, Sarah Hill stated. “The sewer lagoon is punch list ready. We are trying to finish up those last few items that remain. We are well within our days of requirement from ADEM. I’m so happy to announce that we did have an inspection and we passed with flying colors because of the changes we have made, so that’s excellent.”

Upgrades to the city’s existing wastewater lagoon treatment system located on Alabama Highway 229 were made to meet regulatory requirements. According to CDG, the engineering firm that is overseeing the project, the following items were included in the project: installation of new aeration equipment, a packaged lift station, a floating baffle system, upgraded chlorine and sulfur dioxide gas equipment, a septage receiving station, and associated site piping and electrical improvements. Improvements to the collection system included the rehabilitation of 9,200 linear feet of sanitary sewer piping and the connected manholes to reduce inflow and infiltration.

Some of the $4.9 million needed for the project was funded through grant money but most of it was funded through a state revolving fund loan.

“Water rates have not changed, but you are seeing an increase in your sewer rates and that is only because we do have to allocate money to pay that loan payment,” Hill explained.

The ongoing downtown Tallassee project is also nearing completion.

“Downtown is looking really, really good,” Hill added. “I think as we add the handrails, lighting fixtures and landscaping you are really going to see the vision that was created for us.”

The sidewalk that begins at The Tiger Paw and extends towards the barber shop wasn’t originally included in the project but has been added. “We are expecting to apply for a grant to take the paving down all the way to Comer Lane, which I think would be helpful for all of our residents, especially those that have to go to Southside every day,” Hill added.

The Benjamin Fitzpatrick Bridge project began last April with an 18-month expected timeline. If the weather permits, the project should be completed 6 months ahead of schedule.

“I sat down with ALDOT (Alabama Department of Transportation) and the contractors and they have about three weeks left of work,” Hill stated. “Those weeks are not calendar weeks but rather three full weeks of work, which they do require the weather to cooperate to finish up the substructure. Then they will come back and put up the chain-link fencing on the superstructure. When we have 50-degree weather for more than 24 hours at a time, they will come back and seal the deck.”

There has been some concern about the overspray of paint on the bridge sidewalks and Hill added, “They promise that they are going to be cleaning that up.”

Hill remains positive about the improvements and projects that are taking place in Tallassee.

“When I drive through town, I see progress,” Hill added. “We had a $1.1 million gas project that is keeping our residents safe. We have a $9.7 million grant project that is going to be coming in the next year and I’m hoping to announce this spring an $8.8 million project over on the east side of the river. There are new retail businesses in Tallassee. Eric Jones is working on the CDBG grant where we can hopefully take down some of the (dilapidated) houses we have been planning to take down down.”

Hill concluded, “Everywhere you go in Tallassee there is something new. If you just look around at what’s going on there is progress – a lot of progress.”