Centre City Council meeting

Jerry Culberson, a local businessman and community leader, seeks the help of the City of Centre to enhance local waterways, possible with an aquatic park or facility, during a recent city council meeting.

Terry Dean

A local businessman and community leader is seeking the help of the City of Centre to enhance local waterways. Jerry Culberson recently approached Centre Mayor Tony Wilkie and the Centre City Council about possibly constructing a park along the Alabama Highway 9 Causeway at the state docks.

A park, Culberson said, would be a boon to the local economy. He noted that because of a lack of facilities with access to swimming and other aquatic activities, Cherokee County and Weiss Lake continues to lose business to other areas.

Culberson noted going to one particular marina and “and he is having to come out there and run them off and there would be 50 kids and mamas and daddy’s sitting aound the boat ramp. They can’t get their boats in the water, they can’t get them out of the water because everybody is sitting there swimming.”

“Go down to Ohatchhee and at the red light turn right,” said Culberson. “There is Alabama property. They have a camp out there with an Alabama Power office, pavilions, swimming areas, bathrooms, fishing piers. They have even got an attendant.”

“They got it because they squeaked louder there than we did up here,” said Culberson.

Culberson also asked the council to write letters to Alabama Power to conduct dredging and continue to support decreasing the winter drawdown from six feet to three feet.

According to information Culberson received from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Alabama Power proposes to modify the operating curve to (1) raise the winter operating curve by three feet to elevation 561 feet from Dec. 1 through March 1 and (2) extend the summer operating curve from Aug. 31 to Sept. 30. The purpose of those proposed changes is to (1) ensure that the Weiss reservoir reaches its normal pool elevation early in the year; (2) ensure that minimum flows can be provided to the Weiss bypassed reach year-around, including during drought conditions; and (3) enhance recreation access and use of the Weiss reservoir.

To promote the recovery of listed mussels and fish, as well as enhance their habitat in the Coosa River and other river systems in Alabama, Alabama Power proposes to provide funds to establish to help establish and maintain: (1) the Alabama Aquatic Biodiversity Center (Aquatic Center), an aquatic research and culture facility for the propagation of aquatic species of concern within the state; and (2) the Fisheries Habitat Enhancement and Restoration Program (Fish Program).

Culberson’s question was Why not in Cherokee County?

The council agreed to draft letters of support for both issues.

“We can get you a letter,” said Mayor Wilkie. “And talk individually to our counterparts across the water.”

“The Rotary Club has talked about donating a pavilion,” said Culberson. “There would be a lot of people willing to help but we have got to get permission to do it.”

On another matter, the council agreed to purchase a new 26-horsepower Kubota diesel 60” zero turn mower for $11,500 to replace its Massey Ferguson model which had broken down.

Mayor Wilkie reported that the estimate they received to repair the mower was $6,082.78.

Other options discussed included 23-horsepower Kubota for $10,900 and a Cub Cadet.

The council approved the Kubota and also declared the Massey-Ferguson model as surplus property and put it up for auction.

The council also considered a request from an individual who requested a business license for a tattoo parlor within the city limits. The council, in 2006, discussed setting the rate at $1,005, but never ruled on it. It was also noted that with inflation and other factors, the price would have gone up significantly higher since then.

The council agreed to check with other cities before establishing a rate.