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Grant sought to help pay Memorial work
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The Hinesville City Council ratified Thursday the submission of a grant request to help fund the final phase of the Memorial Drive realignment project.  The city proposes to realign Central Avenue to the intersection of Welborn Street, north of Westside Baptist Ministry.
Hinesville Assistant City Manager Ken Howard told the council the city submitted the request to the Georgia Department of Transportation on Dec. 15, the submittal deadline for a 2011 Transportation Enhancement Program grant. Howard informed council members project plans include upgrading existing utilities, adding expansive sidewalks and landscaping the street to reflect the rest of Memorial Drive, which has already been realigned and improved.
Engineer Matthew Barrow with PC Simonton & Associates said the final phase will differ from the rest of Memorial Drive in that it will include a walking trail and on-street parking. Barrow is overseeing the design for the Memorial Drive project’s final phase.
The grant request is for $399,055 and the total cost of the project is estimated at $1,391,190, Howard said. The $992,135 local match for the project will come out of SPLOST funds, he said.
In other city business:
•    The council voted to repair and upgrade the Wastewater Treatment Plant it owns jointly with Fort Stewart, once funding is procured. The city’s engineering firm, PC Simonton & Associates, informed council members the upgrade will cost around $3.8 million. Unless repairs are made, the WWTP will not meet new and stricter permitting regulations EPD is putting out, said Paul Simonton, president of PC Simonton & Associates. The city has set aside a portion of the 5th Brigade remediation funds it received from the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment for the plant upgrade. The original plant went into operation around 1985. It was built by the Corps of Engineers for Hinesville and Fort Stewart. The city owns 47 percent of the plant and the installation owns 53 percent, Simonton said.
•    Hinesville City Manager Billy Edwards informed the council the city received an award for outstanding achievement in popular annual financial reporting for the 2009 fiscal year from the Government Finance Officers Association. The city publishes and sends out a financial report to its residents each year. Kim Ryon, the city’s chief financial officer, said this was the fourth consecutive year the city has earned the PAFR award. The city’s finance department also received a certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting (CAFR) from the GFOA, Edwards said.
•    The city manager reminded the council alcohol cannot be sold on Dec. 25, Christmas Day. Christmas falls on a Saturday this year. Per the city code, “it shall be unlawful for any establishment engaged in the sale of alcoholic beverages to remain open on Sunday after 12:45 a.m. or on Christmas Day,” Edwards read.
•    City spokesperson Krystal Britton informed the council the city will observe Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s holidays. City hall will be closed at noon Friday, Dec. 24, and all day on Monday, Dec. 27, Britton said. City offices will also be close at noon Friday, Dec. 31 and all day on Monday, Jan. 3, 2011, she said.
The next regular city council meeting will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011.

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