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City's list of issues long and varied
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City administrators dove into a long list of topics and issues on Thursday morning as they commenced their annual retreat and workshop at St. Simon’s Island.
With 32-items on their agenda, ranging in topic from future drainage projects to ways to address the homeless problem in the city, council members, city attorneys, and the city manager sat around a long conference table voicing their opinions on each.
On the first full day of discussion, the group touched on about a dozen topics, many of which involved infrastructure improvements.
With $4,459,079 worth of SPLOST tax money appropriated for road work, City Manager Billy Edwards asked the council members to compose a list of roads that are in need of repair. The list included about a dozen roads and problem areas such as McArthur Drive, South Main Street, Meloney Drive, Hollywood Drive and Forest Street.
“Forest Street is probably the worst street in Hinesville in terms of needing work,” Edwards said.
Edwards also encouraged council members to think about using a piece of the money to construct a 10-foot wide sidewalk around the inside circle of the city limits as well as adding more sidewalks in neighborhoods.
“Imagine the walkability and bikability of the downtown area then,” he said.
“I think it’s a good idea, tying that all together,” Councilman Bobby Ryon said.
All the council members agreed their districts and the main downtown area could use more walking paths.
Some of the other road development projects they discussed included making Highway 84 accessible to handicap residents from General Screven (by way of sidewalks) as well as a motion to change the name of Frank Cochran to Veteran’s Parkway. They also looked at plans for improving Bradwell Park.
Another topic they discussed at length was the decision to assemble a financial cost analysis of their contract with OMI, the current utilities and public works provider for the city. Ryon said he wanted the analysis not because he was unsatisfied with their services but because he saw it as a possible savings measure.
“It’s as simple as dollars and cents,” Ryon said. “I just want to see the numbers.”
Just before ending their session for the day, Councilman Keith Jenkins brought up the idea of extending the smoke-free ordinance (which currently is only applicable to city buildings) to city vehicles and equipment.
“When they smoke inside, it stays in the seats and car, and when someone else gets in there, they have to breathe the second hand smoke,” Jenkins said, who added that the habit poses other safety hazards as well.
All of council members voted to make city vehicles and equipment smoke free.
The group reconvened on Friday morning to tackle another set of issues. Look in next week’s Courier for details about their second-day discussions as well as a complete list of all their agenda items.
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