‘Great ideas’ in city: Leaders look at new plans

Published 2:00 am Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The voices of community leaders and residents were heard and plans are being made to spruce up, fix up and rejuvenate the city.
Brewton Mayor Yank Lovelace said a series of public meetings and forums held recently have spurred “great ideas” all aimed at moving Brewton forward.
“The input during the public forums was wonderful,” Lovelace said.”We received some very good suggestions during those gatherings. With that continued kind of input from our people, we can certainly move this city forward.”
Program Manager Connie Baggett said last month’s meetings with Goodwyn Mills and Cawood representatives were fruitful in that it provided needed feedback on plans to revitalize and improve specific areas of the community.
“We will get our first peek at their designs and ideas,” Baggett said. “That May 30 meeting of the steering committee will give us a look at the preliminary ideas and drawings that came from the community meetings.”
Baggett said the plans that will be revealed to the committee will also be relayed to the public in order to get more feedback on the planned projects.
“We will continue to get feedback from our leaders and the community on these ideas,” Baggett said. “We will refine those ideas and come up with a plan that is good for everyone.”
Lovelace said that plan to continue to include the public in discussions about the plans will only serve to help the citizens feel like owners in the improvements.
“The ideas that have already been shared with the planners are going to start to take shape and be discussed,” Lovelace sald. “We want to continue those public meetings for more input on these projects and what will be best for everyone affected by the changes and improvements. That way, we can make the best informed decisions we can so that the entire community benefits.”
Baggett said there are certain funding issues that still need to be addressed in order to make the plans and dreams of city leaders become a reality.
“We have to have funding available before we can make a decisions on which areas will see work first,” Baggett said. “We will have to get things prioritized and see what funding is available for certain projects. There are some state and fedral funding that comes down regularly that can be used for some things. Other things will have to wait until we can find public and/or private partnership to make happen. We also have some grants in the works that could help with funding on some of these plans.”
Baggett said the hope is that an early summer presentation will put the project on a faster track.
“We hope that by early June, they (Goodwyn Mills and Cawood) will be able to present their final plan and vision to the city,” Baggett said. “After that presentation, we will be getting more input about the direction the designs will take and where to move first.”
Lovelace said smaller projects may be visible around the city in the coming weeks as larger plans move forward.
“There may be a few miscellaneous projects people will begin to see around town,” Lovelace said. “As funding is available, more projects will be done.”
Baggett said a timeline for implementing the work toward completing the project is still vague, but has the promise of a revitalized community for its citizens.
“This is going to take some time to complete,” Baggett said. “By the time the process is over, I believe we’ll have something that everyone can buy into and approve of for our community.”
Goodwyn Mills and Cawood is evaluating four areas in Brewton — downtown, Alco, Sowell Road and parks and gateways — to come up with a design plan for the city.