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City decides on grant project

By By JOHN DILMORE JR. Publisher
The Brewton City Council voted last night to seek grant funding for a project to upgrade or possibly relocate a sewage pumping station on Martin Luther King Drive which has been a source of trouble for residents there in the past.
The station serves about 800 citizens, and its inadequacies have led to overflow problems in the area during periods of heavy rain.
The city chose the Martin Luther King Drive project over a number of others it has been considering as candidates for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding.
Cities can only seek one CDBG at a time. Only after that project is completed can they then apply for another.
And that's assuming the city gets the grant at all. The application process is a competitive one, and a lot of information has to be gathered as part of the application process -- information that goes toward showing how badly a project is needed.
To that end, city employees will soon be canvassing the area surrounding the Martin Luther King Drive pumping station, conducting a door to door survey of residents.
City officials are asking that residents help out the application process by being cooperative with those conducting the survey, as they will be helping themselves and their neighborhood by keeping the process moving along smoothly.
The city expects to know whether its application for the grant to fix the pumping station was successful by late July or early August.
In other news, the council appointed a committee to study the possibility of a carnival to be held in early March which would benefit the Brewton Nutrition Center. The carnival was originally set as a T.R. Miller Band fundraiser, but that changed after it was determined that another school-based organization -- the T.R. Miller Quarterback Club -- was also planning a carnival at around that time.
The city's concern is not which organizations are beneficiaries of the carnival, but rather its timing.
Typically, the city has tried to space out events such as carnivals to keep them from bleeding together in the eyes of the community.
Appointed to the committee to look into this were Councilmen Frank Cotten, Cary Barton and Dennis Dunaway.
The council was also addressed by a Diana Rouser, with the Alabama Democratic Conference.
Rouser told the board she was concerned about a few issues that have been brought up to city officials in the past, but which, in her eyes, have continued to be problems.
The first concerned police patrols of routes children use to walk to and from schools, especially in the Sowell Road and East Jackson areas -- something Rouser said was being done only sporadically.
But Jennings said he understood that the patrols were taking place, explaining that at times officers may have to be called away to answer accident calls.
The mayor also took offense briefly when he felt Rouser was implying that his care for the area's children was lacking, and told her so.
Jennings went on to explain that the city currently has in the works a program to help teach kids what to do when approached by a stranger.
Also mentioned were concerns about continuing work to correct drainage problems on Sowell Road, which has left the road in less than desirable condition in places.
City utitlities superintendent Ray Madden explained that the work there was progressing as quickly as possible, given that some unforseen complications had arisen.
In other council-related news:
A concerned citizen, Mary Paul, addressed the council about her concerns that elementary school children were not developing the reading skills they needed, but was advised to take her concerns before the city board of education. The council appoints board of education members, but the members themselves set policy and deal with school-related concerns.