Gulf Shores approves Hangout Festival, fiber provider


For the tenth year running, the Hangout Music Festival will bring big name music artists to the Alabama Gulf Coast. The event’s public assembly permit, presented by Recreation and Cultural Affairs Director Grant Brown, requested increased capacity for tickets this year.

According to Brown, last year was the first year for the Hangout Festival to modify their site plan to incorporate all the renovations to Gulf Place.

“Because of the success with the site and the way the event flowed with the new Gulf Place area, the capacity- which the franchise agreement sets at 40,000 unless the city council approves additional capacity- they are requesting an additional 5,000 tickets,” Brown said. “our staff has reviewed the request and feel like it’s very appropriate. We feel the improvements we made to Gulf Place absolutely help the size and congestion. It’s worked out very well.”

Usage of the festival site will begin April 29, with equipment and stage setup beginning shortly thereafter. The beach will be open during festival construction up until the week of the event. The beach will be closed for 10 days from Monday, May 13- Wednesday, May 22.

New fiber provider in Gulf Shores

The Gulf Shores City Council moved forward on a plan that would allow for a new fiber provider in the city. Point Broadband has agreed to come into the community and provide fiber to residential homes.

Economic Development Coordinator Blake Phelps presented the agreement to the council members. He said the agreement would be for 10 years and is consistent with other fiberoptic and telecommunications franchises currently in place.

“When the city council adopted the Vision 2025 back in 2014, you identified establishing and expanding well-organized infrastructure as one of your top priorities,” Phelps said. “This includes fiberoptic infrastructure. We have worked with existing providers within the community to expand their networks and have also worked with other providers not within our community to try and recruit them here.”

The annual franchise fee will be 5 percent of gross sales, and the company will be given the opportunity to provide fiber services to business clients as they grow in the area.

“Staff will work with Point Broadband to try and identify underserved areas of the community and help them identify new, residential developments that are already on the drawing board as well,” Phelps said. “What they’ll be offering is speeds up to 1GB and their plans are between $70 and $150 a month and no contract. So, very competitive pricing and very competitive speeds. They solely do internet, so they would be the first provider in the community to provide fiber to the home.”

The agreement passed a unanimous council vote.

Investment plan

The Gulf Shores Finance Committee is looking at ways to maximize their money in 2019.

The committee decided an investment policy for public funds of the city was needed at its February meeting. In a memo sent to the city council members, the committee cites an increase in federal reserve interest rates as an advantageous reason for government entities to invest municipal general funds.

The city would leave three months of operating expenses untouched to ensure stability in the face of a catastrophe. Borrowed funds that exceed what is needed in the current budget year would also be reinvested if this plan is approved.

Accounting Supervisor Anna Franklin said this is an opportunity for the city to make money in a market with rising interest rates with funds that would otherwise be sitting idle.

Finance Committee Chair Dr. Jason Dyken said this policy should help the city create as much liquidity within its finances as it needs.

The measure passed unanimously.

Also approved during the council meeting were:

Also discussed during the city council work session were:

-A professional services agreement with Volkert for school zone improvements.

-Public assembly permits for the 2019 Good Life Ride.

-An automatic aid agreement between the Gulf Shores and Foley fire departments.

-A franchise agreement with Eastern Shores Co. to provide coin-operated telescopes at Gulf Place. The company had coin-operated, metered telescopes at and within the confines of the Gulf Shores Public Beach Pavilions and Boardwalk. They removed all of the telescopes at the request of the city prior to the Gulf Place re-design and construction. Eastern Shore is now ready to place new telescopes and has spoken with Recreation and Cultural Affairs Director Grant Brown regarding the type of telescopes and will work with public works to determine approved locations and installation requirements.