Boaz city officials are working on plans for a new cityscape plan to beautify the area around the city’s under-construction recreation center.
City Clerk Jill Bright said officials are working to secure funding for three different projects around the former outlet shopping center to pay for street paving and beautification projects that could include the area from the railroad tracks to U.S. 431 on Alabama 168.
The project could be impacted by an Alabama Department of Transportation plans to narrow Alabama 168 to two lanes and a center turn lane from U.S. 431 to the Old Mille Park near downtown Boaz. Currently the area has two lanes of traffic in both directions with a center turn lane.
Although specific plans were not presented during Monday night’s meeting, Mayor David Dyar said it could significantly improve the “5-points area,” the bend in the road near the Y-Mart, U.S. Post Office and Dale’s BBQ. There are three separate streets that intersect with Alabama 168, which boasts four lanes and a turn lane in the area.
“When they do downsize the road to two lanes, that will give us more room to do cityscaping,” Bright said.
She also said Marshall DeKalb Electric Co-op has said they will take out some of the older, wooden light poles in the area.
Mayor David Dyar said the reduction in the number of lanes may be unpopular with area motorists, but it is a change out of the city’s hands.
“Changing the number of lanes is all ALDOT,” Dyar said. “People are slow to change. But ALDOT does the changes with safety in mind. They put safety first in any project.
“They wouldn’t be doing this if they thought it would cause problems.”
ALDOT has already removed a stoplight at the intersection of Alabama 168 and Elizabeth Street. Councilmen hope to have another light installed in front of the former outlet center once the city’s recreation center is complete and open.
In other business, councilmen also:
• Received appreciation from resident Carolyn Bohannon of Martin Road. She addressed the council in June, asking the city not to spray for bugs in her neighborhood, partly because she has breathing-related health issues but also because she enjoys the outdoors and watching wildlife.
Since the city stopped spraying near her home, she said all types of insects and birds have returned.
“Because the city was nice enough to stop spraying, I have been able to sit outside, which is about all I can do during this COVID-19 mess,” Bohannon said.
“It is phenomenal to see all the little critters that have come back. We’ve counted 17 warblers and two brown bats. We have seen a rare yellow bill cuckoo come in our yard. All these eat insects, which have returned.
“I come to say thank you so much for listening and giving me back my little part of Boaz.”
• Learned Monster Mash at the Mill will be Oct. 31 from 3-6 p.m. at Old Mill Park. Candy and games will be provided for children.
• The Nov. 2 city council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in the Mastin Conference Room at the Boaz Public Library.
• City Building Inspector Nick Borden and Fire Chief Jeff Beck were named as appropriate city officials to exercise the authority and perform duties in the newly enacted nuisance building ordinance.
Beck and Borden will be the men responsible for inspecting buildings and declaring them unfit, unsafe or in need of repair, among other duties.
• Learned city police will enforce sound ordinances in relation to loud mufflers.
“Part of it is educating the public,” said Police Chief Josh Gaskin. “We don’t have to write a ticket every time. We can give warnings. But if a ticket is issued, it is a ‘fix-it-ticket’ that means the person has 72 hours to get it fixed and have us sign off on it. As long as they take that to the magistrate within 72 hours, the charge will be dismissed. We have options.”
Alabama law defines an “improper muffler” as one that emits “unusual noise and annoying smoke” or excess fumes. The law also prohibits the use of a muffler cut-out, bypass or one without baffles.
• Approved paying $1.01 million in accounts payable vouchers. All vouchers are posted at city hall and available for public viewing.