City moving forward with park improvement plans

By John Underwood / john@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 6/5/18

ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — Officials in Robertsdale are moving forward with plans to make improvements to Honeybee Park.

Architects with Adams Stewart in Robertsdale presented conceptual design …

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City moving forward with park improvement plans

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ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — Officials in Robertsdale are moving forward with plans to make improvements to Honeybee Park.

Architects with Adams Stewart in Robertsdale presented conceptual design drawings at the council’s Friday, May 18 meeting for a pavilion to be located in Honeybee Park. Part of the plans for the pavilion will be to close off a portion of Michigan Street east of the park, officials said.

Officials hope to let the project out for bids by the end of June with the goal of having the first phase of the Honeybee Park improvements completed by Nov. 1 in time for Christmas festivities, which begin the first Saturday in December.

Park improvements also call for the addition of sidewalks, landscaping, additional parking, restroom facilities, and an increase in booth space for the annual Honeybee Festival which is held every year in October.

Plans are also underway for the removal and relocation of the city’s Utilities Barn. The area will be used for an amphitheater which will feature local entertainment, with additional parking and restroom facilities surrounding the structure.

The full project is scheduled for completion in time for the city’s Bicentennial Celebration, which is slated for 2021.

In other business May 18, the council approved a pair of ordinances to rezoning property from RGP to PUD and another from I-1 to B-2.

The council suspended the rules by roll-call vote before adopting ordinance No. 002-18 to rezone property from RGP to PUD along County Road 71 north of County Road 48 North.

One adjacent property owner, Rowell Koptis, spoke during the public hearing, asking the council for the definition of a PUD and stating that the development could cause problems with drainage.

“That property was divided along the railroad tracks so that property to the east of the track drains east and property to the west of the track drains west,” he said. “I just want to make sure this development does not affect that.”

City Engineer Greg Smith said he did not think the development would hinder drainage on the property but city officials would certainly be willing to look into any drainage issues before proceeding with the development.

PUD stands for Planned Unit Development, said Mayor Charles Murphy, which affects setbacks and density in specialized developments.

“With the added greenspace in the property, I’m pretty sure they are actually reducing the number of lots,” Murphy said, “which in my mind would make a positive impact on drainage rather than a negative one.”

The council also voted by roll call to suspend the rules and adopt ordinance No. 003-18 rezoning the city’s Daycare Property from I-1 to B-2.

Speaking on behalf of the city, Smith said the rezoning was to correct an issue with zoning on the property, which was originally home to the Vanity Fair Mills sewing factory.

“It was brought up during the audit process that the property was zoned incorrectly for a daycare,” Smith said, “and on further research we discovered that to be the case and steps are being made to correct it.”

Also on May 18, the council:

• Approved the surplus of three trucks in the Public Works Department.

• Approved the use of two of the city’s dates for the Baldwin County Coliseum for a pair of Robertsdale High School Alumni Association fundraisers.

• Discussed annexation but took no action Key Trust Property.

• Approved a request to renew the city’s contract with Revenue Discovery Systems (RDS). CFO Ann Simpson said during a one-year contract period RDS discovered 253 businesses that did not have a business license and recovered $55,442.60 which was split 60-40 resulting in gross revenue for the city of $33,365.56. Of those businesses operating without a license, 236 were out-of-state. Only five of the remaining businesses were located in Baldwin County, one in Robertsdale. The council voted to renew the contract with RDS for three years under the same terms with the city collecting 60 percent of all revenue collected by RDS.

• Approved write-offs in the amount of $49,004.99. The city budgets $50,000 in write-offs each year, Simpson said and is already working on $50,000 in write-offs for next year.

• Granted a real estate commission to be awarded for the Diamond Foods Property if the property is sold under contract.