Sunday, June 25, 2017

Golf Clubhouse Repairs To Be Costly

Fairhope, Alabama


Representatives from Birmingham-based 'Engineering Design Technologies' told the city council that around $250K is the estimated repair costs to the Quail Creek clubhouse for water damage to the exterior facade and structural elements of the 1983-constructed building.

Mugg, second from left
The firm's chief architect David Mugg said the 'EIFIS' siding system had been installed wrong causing water-penetration, especially under the windows, damaging OSB boards and load bearing studs within.

Mugg a proposed complete facade replacement using 'Hardie Boards' (in combination with other new technologies) as well as replacing leaking windows and damaged sheathing/studs at a cost of about $250K -- allowing some or unforeseen problems that could be discovered later.


Mugg added he also noticed cracks in the concrete slab and rotting support columns on the porches outside.

Golf Director Bobby Hall observed that the concrete patio nearby had cracks, the wooden deck was rotting in places, and the entrance ramp and some elements of restrooms were not fully ADA compliant.

Mayor Wilson told the council she thought the whole clubhouse could be "opened up" and made more efficient so that less personnel would be needed to operate it,  and "improve the ambiance ... to make it a nice community clubhouse ... where more people would want to come before and after playing" creating additional revenue for the city.


One  city building official observed that "you could spend a lot on the exterior and renovations ... and still have just lipstick on a pig.  At what point does it not become feasible ... better to just build a new clubhouse?"

Councilman Brown thought that "no more should be spent on engineering until we decide what to do" -- and perhaps less-extensive repairs might be made to the building facade for now just to get it back open in anticipation of major renovations or replacement later.

Councilman Conyers: "I wouldn't want to put a quarter-million into the exterior ... without doing something to the interior too ... ."

Council president Burrell urged the group to think about their "vision" for the clubhouse: "what you want it to look like in five years" ... in preparation for next year's budget cycle.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

'Cindy' Caused More Sewage Overflows

Fairhope, Alabama

Update: All of the reports mentioned below also say none of the discharge reached 'swimming water' and monitoring of 'receiving water' is 'not necessary.' We can find no records of tests of the bay water during this period. Perhaps the huge amount of rain (over 5 inches) sufficiently diluted the sewage: we will ask about that ... .

Middle Street manhole overflowed again


The Alabama Department of Environmental Management received reports of three sewage overflows from Fairhope utilities on June 21st during heavy rainfall:

1.  Over 10K gallons was discharged from a manhole on Middle Street (south of Valley St.) into the Tatumville gully system. Stormwater intrusion into the collection system there has been a chronic problem.

2.  Over 1K gallons escaped from a manhole on Lowry Avenue due to a "sewer main collapse." Runoff went into drainage ditches adjacent two homes in the neighborhood. City crews have repaired the collapsed main.

3. An undetermined amount (not listed on the report form) also escaped from a manhole on Knollwood Avenue into Steel Creek due to a "backed up lift station."

All of the affected areas were disinfected using bleach and other measures -- and warning signs posted.  Some of the pipes in the Middle St. area were recently lined to prevent leakage.

No sewage made it all the way into public swimming waters, according to the report.

Lowry Drive collapse site

Warning sign on Lowry Drive

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Fairhope Seawall Severely Damaged By Storm

Fairhope, Alabama


The city council held a special meeting this afternoon to declare a 'state of emergency' to expedite repairs to the north face of the pier seawall which sustained serious damage overnight.

Over time, exposed 1.25 inch steel supporting rods had seriously-rusted and some had broken causing the wall to slip down about two to three inches: It could collapse completely if not stabilized.

Installing wooden pilings in front for support was a temporary solution being discussed but building officials say none may be available and that may not hold so other methods are under consideration including welding chains to replace the broken rods but that depends on the condition of metal tiebacks under the ground not yet inspected.

The state of emergency was declared to expedite the repair/bidding process: building officials hope the wall can be stabilized in time for the annual July 4th celebration and then more permanent repairs made.

city council today
Another special meeting may need to be called next week to award the contract.

No cost estimates were given during the meeting.

If president Trump declares 'Cindy' a federal disaster, then FEMA repair funds could become available.

(The temporary emergency repairs would not be covered by FEMA)

The wall was constructed in the 1970s, according to councilman Boone (others say the 60s).

Broken steel rod.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tropical Storm 'Cindy' Arrives At Fairhope Pier

Fairhope, Alabama

The storm surge from tropical storm Cindy nearly reached the top of lower seawalls at the municipal pier and park late this morning.

The same was true at Magnolia Beach just to the south; Fly Creek overflowed its banks at the city's marina.

We found no significant flooding issues inland but there is a report of a collapsed sewage line in the White Grove neighborhood.

North pier park

Pier marina

Pier Street boat ramp

Magnolia Beach

pier restautant closed

Fly Creek municipal marina

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Season's First Tropical System Forming in Gulf?

Fairhope, Alabama


It was hot and sunny along the Mobile Bay waterfront Sunday, but out in the Gulf of Mexico a tropical system is expected to form later this week (called Invest 93L). Heavy rain is usually the main concern with smaller storms.

At a recent town hall meeting held in the Library's Giddens room, the city's Emergency Manager John Saraceno advised a three-step strategy:

1. Make two emergency kits (one for staying, one for evacuation) including water and food for three days and a battery-powered radio.

2. Include a plan for continuing necessary, everyday activities: gasoline, finances, medical needs.

3. Stay informed about what may happen (such as storm direction and intensity).

A similar plan should be used for pets, he said.

See for more details (click) -- and the city's website for local resources (click).



If the governor orders it, Saraceno urged evacuation -- but for those who cannot due to sickness, lack of transportation, etc.,  there are emergency shelters available: the Fairhope Satellite Courthouse, Daphne Elementary School, and Baldwin County Coliseum in Roberstdale being nearest. (Each has a specified use.)

Saraceno: "Failing to prepare ... is preparing to fail."

Building Inspector Eric Cortinias urged effective house preparation before leaving though, such as protecting window glass and turning off electricity and natural gas.

He urged homeowners to check insurance as well to insure adequate coverage from all threats: thirty-two houses in the city flooded during the April 2014 super-rainstorm for instance -- but only two were actually in flood zones on EPA maps.

Cooling Off In Mobile Bay

Fairhope, Alabama

Thursday, June 15, 2017

More Downtown Business Changes

Fairhope, Alabama

Former Fairhope Avenue location

'Papas Pizza' at 420 Fairhope Avenue has closed; the owner purchased the Old Bay Steamer at 14 N. Church Street and operates the pizza business there as well.

We have been told a "Thai cuisine" restaurant is planned for the old location -- and the two adjacent stores.

Old Bay Steamer/Papas Pizza on Church Street

Thai restaurant coming here