Sunday, May 20, 2018

Electrical Substation Site Search Narrowed

Fairhope, Alabama

NW corner of Young and Nichols Streets a potential site #1


Existing Young St. substation
Two locations are still in the running for a new electrical substation to service the hospital area: one on city property in the southeast corner Stimpson Field park and the other at the northwest corner of Young Street and Nichols Avenue (across Young from the existing substation).

A third location further south on Young St. was excluded due to neighborhood opposition.

Once the new higher-capacity station is built, the aging existing ones on Young Street and on Church Street (at Morphy Ave.) will be dismantled.

Young St. transmission lines
Both older ones are at or near full capacity now according to Operations Director Richard Peterson  and the replacement needs to be located on Young Street where 40K volt high voltage power lines are already located; locating it elsewhere would be much more expensive because new transmission/distribution  lines would be needed.

The city council will have to vote to purchase the land on the corner of Young/Nichols (its appraised value is about $70K) and to appropriate funds to construct the new substation at either location.

SE corner of Stimpson Field proposed site #2

No longer under consideration

Friday, May 18, 2018

Lightning Hits Power Pole

Fairhope, Alabama

Lightning during a severe storm damaged a transformer and communications lines on a pole at the corner of Fairhope and Brown Avenue Thursday night; power outages were minimal.

New Beach Entry Fees In Effect

Fairhope, Alabama

Those vehicles without decals will be paying a lot more to get into the municipal beach; walkers and bikers will have to show an ID with address.

Anyone living in the 36532 zip code who is also a city utility customer (water, sewer, gas, or electric)  is entitled to the decal, which can be obtained from the utility payment desk at city hall.

City employees may use their badges for entry.

Generally, the booth is only attended from Memorial to Labor Day.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Library Repair Saga Continues

Fairhope, Alabama


According to the city's Operations Director Richard Peterson, there were two responses to the city's request for bids for repairs to the "exterior envelope" of the library: chronic roof leaks have been a problem almost since its completion in 2007; window and gutter leaks, peeling stucco, and similar issues have developed over the years as well, all leading to structural damage in places inside.

Richard Peterson
The low bidder was M. W. Rodgers Construction of Mobile with a base bid of $998K, reviewed for the city and recommended by GMC engineering. The other was C. Sharpe Construction of Orange Beach, base bid $1.2 million.

The city council had budgeted $550K for the repairs.

One possible cause for the increase cited was the long delay in implementing repairs (its been debated and put off for years) and the rise of construction costs in the interim.

The chronic problems have been attributed to everything from faulty design, construction techniques, and materials used, and to improper maintenance; all warranties on the building expired some time ago.


Possibly during its next meeting, the city council will discuss whether to accept the low bid (as required by state law) or reject both bids and seek new proposals for the repairs.

The library may have to be closed during some of the repairs.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

County Commissioner Candidates Debate

Fairhope, Alabama

Davis left, Lake right


The two Republican candidates for the District Two County Commission seat participated in a debate forum Tuesday (staged by the Baldwin County Republican Party) in Roberstdale; incumbent Chris Elliot is not seeking re-election (he is running for state Senate instead).

(See a link to the entire video at bottom.)

Joe Davis said he was born in Mobile but grew up in Thomasville. Using experience as a Daphne city councilman and in the private financial sector,  he wants to find solutions to growth-related problems throughout the county.

John Lake came to Baldwin county at age 14 and graduated from Fairhope High School. He said his 24 years on the Daphne city council qualifies him to provide leadership the county sorely needs, to make it a better place in the face of rapid growth.

County annex in Roberstdale


Budget priorities?

Davis said financing of public safety and connectivity, "where you live and how you get to where others live ... traffic ... things that make a difference in quality of life."  He cited experience managing money for the University of Alabama and technical colleges and experience on Daphne's Public Safety Committee.

Lake said first look at needs then wants: "Getting road and drainage conditions back up to snuff; make sure people don't have to pack a lunch to go to lunch ... getting through intersections." The most important is the environment, especially water quality in the bay.

District 2 in blue

Crime and law enforcement?

Davis said the sheriff's department does a wonderful job now; the county commission should provide new technology and resources as needed, especially communication: "Time matters."  He said ensuring everyone in the county has internet connections would aid law enforcement as well. His grand daughter is a Mobile police officer, he added.

Lake said he would ask those on the front line what they needed to do a better job first. Since the county is so big, currently under-served areas should be a high priority.

Deal with rapid growth/infrastructure needs?

Davis said that it is not just about roads; has everything to do with quality of life: connectivity within communities, storm water runoff, sewer systems.  "Growth is a great opportunity to improve the status quo. Where we live now is wonderful but can be made better. I will listen to you, your ideas ... make it happen."

Lake: "A lot of places wish they had growth; we have got it. Rapid growth is going to hurt us ... like a tax ... traffic jams just going to the store." He advocated putting the "burden" on those who created the problems: "Make developers pay for road upgrades ... using impact fees."


District One incumbent Frank Burt and challenger James Ball.

District Three incumbent Tucker Dorsey and challengers William McDaniel and Billie Jo Underwood.

District Four incumbent Charles Gruber and challenger Jerry Johnson.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Update: Summer Municipal Beach Fees Back On Agenda

Fairhope, Alabama

Update: The council enacted the fees proposed here, to take effect Memorial Day.

Attendant on duty today


36532 zip code
After voting to raise entrance fees from $8 to $20/vehicle for everyone living outside of the city limits at a meeting last month ($3 - $5 for pedestrians and bikes), the city council will consider more changes to allow everyone living in the 36532 zip code who is also a Fairhope Utilities customer entrance at no charge as well.  The usual window stickers will still be required.

The resolution is currently not on the regular council meeting's agenda, but could be put there for a vote.

(The usual Monday meeting was changed to Tuesday, 6PM.)

Sometimes fees are charged before on weekends/holidays (like today) but routine charging usually begins on Memorial Day and lasts through Labor Day.


Fairhope Today May 13, 2018

Fairhope, Alabama