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Drainage, roof problems focus of public hearing

By By MARY-ALLISON LANCASTER Managing editor
A public hearing was held Tuesday evening before the Brewton City Council meeting in an attempt to obtain citizen input on community needs within the city, which included drainage problems and roof repair and debris removal for low to moderate income persons.
The city will submit an application on June 3 for the 2005 Housing and Urban Development Disaster Recovery Initiative (DRI) Grant program, which is funded through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA). The total amount of the grant is $11,465,311 but at least 51 percent of the funds must be used to benefit low and moderate income persons.
The estimated cost for the entire project is $400,000, which is the cap for each application. At the meeting, the city agreed to a 10 percent match equaling to $40,000.
Jenny White, a representative with the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission, is currently working to prepare for the HUD disaster recovery grant.
The funds will aid in repairing infrastructure, housing, drainage, remove slum and blight and meet unmet needs.
The city of Brewton is proposing to construct drainage improvements in the area of Liles Boulevard and Fountain Avenue. The cost to improve the drainage was estimated at $225,000.
Currently, several properties in the area can still be seen with fallen trees, which is beginning to cause rat and snake infestations, as well as creating fire hazards. The purpose of the meeting was to acquire public input from residents in the proposed are on the projects the city is proposing to begin in the near future.
Cynthia Moore, who lives on 1111 Fountain Ave., addressed the council with several questions. One such question was how and if the project was going to affect property value, and would there be another public meeting to discuss the engineering design.
According to Director of Community Development Pete Diurno, the city is working on easements the city presently owns. He added that a survey must be conducted and could begin as early as May 12. The surveys would be conducted between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., with some occurring on the weekend. White added that surveys would also be conducted between 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. to accommodate those who work in the evenings.
Moore, who is concerned the city is going to build a drain in her back yard, asked whether she could obtain the documents on the easements.
Diurno added that the easements have been on record for a number of years and it would be possible for her and other concerned residents to obtain the easements.
The next question was posed by Homer Hamilton, who was concerned whether the drainage would be open or closed.
City officials set September as a possible date when the city would begin on the final design.