After hearing about and making decisions on a full schedule of action items at Thursday’s meeting, the Hinesville City Council reviewed the redesign concept plan for Bradwell Park.
Assistant City Manager Kenneth Howard explained the proposed changes and the $566,100 cost for the proposed construction project, then Hinesville Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Vicki Davis assessed downtown parking management, noting that a new parking study is expected to be completed by July.
“Parking in the core of downtown Hinesville has become a growing concern with downtown businesses,” Davis said, noting that several downtown businesses have been involved in the revitalization efforts, providing valuable input that was incorporated in the concept plan. “Recent new developments, new businesses and the planned improvements to Bradwell Park have prompted a (new) parking-management plan that is currently in progress.”
Davis emphasized the improvements to Bradwell Park are intended to be “a compliment to the district,” saying it’s important that the design of the park be “conducive to business activities.”
Although the concept plan was an information item and the council wasn’t expected to approve or disapprove the plan, City Manager Billy Edwards said they did give the concept plan their “nod” — at least for now.
The new concept plan would close Commerce Street from M.L. King Jr. Drive to Court Street. This would expand the park while allowing for sidewalk and patio space for outdoor tables and chairs in front of businesses now on Commerce Street.
Most of the parking that had been along Commerce Street would move to a new parking area next to M.L. King Jr. Drive. The proposed changes would reduce overall parking spaces surrounding Bradwell Park from 48 spaces to 42 spaces.
The old gazebo would disappear, but there would be a covered stage area for concerts across from where the gazebo is now. A much larger, interactive fountain also is planned to replace the current fountain.
Other business taken up by the council included a show-cause hearing for the owner of Savannah Mr. Pizza. The original hearing was scheduled for March 1, but owner Bill Marks was not present, so the council postponed the hearing. Savannah Mr. Pizza reportedly has failed to file its quarterly alcoholic beverage and food report on time six times since receiving its alcoholic beverage license in July 2010.
City Attorney Linnie L. Darden III explained the applicable city ordinance regarding the report, and Edwards explained why the council is concerned by the repeated late submissions of those reports. Marks said he recently hired a new manager and installed a new computer system that would make the information for the report more accessible.
Council members Keith Jenkins, Kenneth Shaw and Jason Floyd each commented on the importance of the reports, asking for assurance from Marks that the reports no longer would be late. After being told the next quarterly report is due to the city April 20, Marks said he would try to have his report submitted by April 1.
The council agreed to modify the language for the loans for the Maple Drive/Justice Center drainage project and Bryant Commons retention pond, which would delay the starting date to repay those loans to Jan. 1, 2013 and Oct. 1 2012, respectively.
They also agreed to extend the moratorium on Internet gambling another six months and, following a lengthy discussion between Floyd and Jenkins, the council agreed to adopt a 90-day moratorium on digital signs.
Jenkins was concerned that after they approved a moratorium, requests would come before the council to grandfather an application submitted before the moratorium. After being given assurance there were no current applications to erect digital signs, Floyd agreed to approve the proposal for the moratorium.
“I have no problem changing the rules moving forward,” Floyd said. “I just want to make sure we’re not changing the rules for someone with a current application.”
Final business included approval for a peddler’s license for Cheryl Strickland to operate an ice cream truck through Hinesville neighborhoods, and alcoholic beverage licenses were approved for Sun Ye Yang, the new owner of the Big Apple, and Christina Johnson, the new manager for Ruby Tuesday.