LAUREL HILL — The City Council voted 3-2 on Thursday to spend $75,000 on preliminary repairs for Sunnyside Avenue from 3rd Street to State Road 85 near Laurel Hill School.
Council members Clifton Hall, Larry Hendren and Betty Williamson supported the plan; Robby Adams and Willie Mae Toles voted against it.
Earlier, Hall shared his and a contractor’s recommendations, which an account for road repairs would fund. Hall — who has 25 years’ experience managing a construction business — suggested filling in potholes, replacing damaged drainage pipes and adding ditches to help water flow off the street before the county provides the most costly work.
Hall said he plans to start working with city employees on the repair work on March 16.
City leaders voted unanimously in February to seek the county's help in repaving Sunnyside Avenue. Hall said he recently met with County Commissioner Wayne Harris and Public Works Director John Hofstad to discuss repairing the school’s main route from S.R. 85. Suggested repairs the city would self-fund would precede the county’s involvement.
Adams on Thursday questioned whether the city first should apply for a Community Development Block Grant. In January, the council voted to pursue the grant, which could provide $600,000 for road repairs. The city still needs an engineer to help write the grant.
"Fourth Street, New Ebenezer and part of Second Ave were not considered for this letter (to the county) because they were the roads proposed to be paved under the CDBG application," Adams said on the News Bulletin's Facebook page.
"Mr. Hall's estimate for Sunnyside alone is ($75,000). This amount does not include the cost of the engineer or the labor cost to be incurred by the city.
"If we get the grant and it isn't enough to finish the roads proposed, then we could use this money to complete that project. If we don't get the grant, this money (the $75,000) would be better spent repairing Fourth Street."
Adams motioned to delay roadwork until seeing grant results; Toles voted in favor of the motion, but the three remaining council members voted against it.
Mike Blizzard, Adams’ opponent in the Laurel Hill mayoral race, expressed support for Hall's plan during the meeting’s public portion.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this article said that Councilman Robby Adams said the Sunnyside project should receive the $75,000 if the council submitted a Community Block Development Grant and was awarded it. However, he said he was referring to using the $75,000 for the remainder of the project that includes Fourth Street, New Ebenezer and part of Second Avenue.