Board OKs bid for work at RR park

Published 9:00 pm Thursday, November 8, 2012

Renovations aimed to improve the accessibility of downtown’s Railroad Park are in the future, funded by leftover grant money.

     During Tuesday night’s city board meeting, aldermen accepted Sullivan Enterprises as the low bidder on the project.

     Ryan Holmes of Dungan Engineering said the Magee-based company’s bid came in at about $92,000.

     Under the project, the brick curb on the Railroad Park side of Whitworth Avenue will be lowered to allow for the addition of steps into the park. If there’s enough money, there may be some additions inside the park, as well.

     “They also will put in some benches and tables,” said Brookhaven Mayor Les Bumgarner.

     The mayor hopes to see work on the project begin in about a month.

     The project will be paid for with leftover money from a previous grant aimed at downtown improvements. About $80,000 remains for the Railroad Park project.

     The money may not pay for renovating the entire length of the Whitworth Avenue curb, but Bumgarner said the work will be done in sections as funds are available.

     Aldermen have praised the project as a way to help increase the use of the downtown park.

     In other business, Ward Six Aldermen David Phillips is once again pushing for action against the Hayes Trailer Park, located on Industrial Park Road.

     Under a Nuisance Property Ordinance aldermen approved earlier this year, Phillips wants to demand the property owner Charles Hayes deal with persistent criminal complaints at the trailer park.

     This will be the second time this year aldermen have acted against the property under the ordinance.

     “He came in, assured us he would do everything,” Phillips said of the first attempt. “It calmed down a couple months and now it’s cranked back up.”

     Phillips said he hopes the board will see some results this time.

     “Hopefully we will take it a little further this time,” he said.    

     Problems have gotten severe enough that Phillips said a landlord with adjacent property to Hayes Trailer Park has contacted him complaining that he can’t rent his property because of the problems at Hayes.

     Board members also discussed that Hayes himself was arrested at the park in July for disorderly conduct.

     “You’re not setting an example as an owner or manager if you’re not respecting the law,” said Police Chief Pap Henderson. “I’ll give him a C for trying to correct the problem, but there’s a way to do it.”

     Board members also heard from Bernetta Character, of the local NAACP. She accused the board of showing bias or giving the impression of bias in its decision to hire Wayne Williams as supervisor of the Cemetery Department rather than another employee with more seniority.

     She said if white employees were to be promoted based on seniority, then black employees should be as well.

     Ward Five Aldermen D.W. Maxwell countered that he doesn’t know of any city employees – white or black – that were promoted solely on the basis of seniority.

     Bumgarner pointed out that Keith Lewis, who is white, and Wilmer Butler, who is black, were both hired as superintendents of city departments despite more senior employees in the department.

     Maxwell said that seniority alone does not make a candidate the most qualified.

     “It’s not about knowing the job,” Maxwell said. “It’s about how you handle the job.”