Rivercane team to make light choice

Published 3:51 pm Monday, October 16, 2006

By By Adam Prestridge – for the standard
Lighting the Rivercane development at Interstate 65 has posed itself to be another hurdle for members of the Atmore Industrial Development Board to clear before infrastructure is in place.
The main topic of discussion during the board's meeting Thursday morning at Atmore City Hall was what method would be used for providing electricity to the development: underground lines or standard pole service.
Underground lines have proven to be the best route to go for beautification purposes at Rivercane, but following the meeting, the board is torn after learning how costly it would be.
The board's options are simple: agree to run the power underground and pay Alabama Power Company a price tag of $350,000 for just Phase 1 of the multi-phase project, not to mention an addition $50,000 the city would have to cough up for trenching, or pay nothing and have standard, overhead pole service run to the facility.
According to Custred, since not all the property at Rivercane has been sold, it is hard to determine how much power to provide because it is unknown what type of businesses will build in Phase 1.
The Industrial Development Board allotted $150,000 in its budget for underground power for Phase 1, which is $250,000 less than what Custred quoted.
Board chairman Richard Maxwell said.
APC engineer Tom Sheffield, who was also on hand during the meeting, said
pricing and the demand for copper has elevated the cost of underground
power, but has also caused a six-month lead-time on some equipment needed.
So in order for APC to be ready when contractors begin construction anywhere
from six to eight months from now, the board has to make a decision within a
matter of weeks.
Even though underground power is the route the board would like to take,
every property line would still have a switching box and pull box, making
the presence of power still noticeable, according to Sheffield. Even if the
board agreed on underground, Sheffield also said that two poles would have
to be erected at the entrance of Rivercane in order to access the power from
the other side of Hwy. 21. Having poles at the entrance did not sit well
with the board.
After hearing Alabama Power's proposal, city engineer Euel Screws with
Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood made several suggestions that may help save the
city money.
Screws suggested that if the city did go with the poles that &#8220you could off
different poles at multiple places.”
Sheffield agreed.
Screws said that the city could also look into altering the Rivercane
covenants requiring property owners to take the overhead power underground
to their business.
we can find $350,000 in our budget because I don't think it exists,” board
member Jim Johnson said.
Atmore mayor Howard Shell agreed stating that the board needed to weigh it
options, meet again and see if it's feasible to go underground. If not, they
would need to meet with Screws and see how the overhead power could tie in
with the project.
Screws and Maxwell agreed to work on several options to present to the board
at its next meeting.