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Improvements planned for downtown Clanton

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

Improvements are coming to downtown Clanton.

Starting with repaving the major roads to little touches here and there, there are several projects on the horizon over the next several months.

Bids for the downtown paving project were opened on Aug. 25, and Mayor Jeff Mims hopes the project will begin in October or November and be completed in time for the annual Christmas tree lighting event.

The roads to be paved include Sixth Street from the Sixth Street Warehouse to Park Drive, Second Avenue from Fifth Street to the top of the hill, Third Avenue from Fifth Street to Highway 31 and First Avenue from Fifth Street across Highway 31 to the railroad tracks.

A portion of the project will be funded through revenue from the Rebuild Alabama gas tax. Mims said he expects the city to receive $40,000 from the tax this year. The paving is expected to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The concrete crosswalks near Clanton City Hall on Sixth Street and Second Avenue are also going to be converted to asphalt to make the road smoother and simpler to pave in the future. Mims said the current configuration is creating an uneven surface and means paving crews have to come back each time and do the concrete crosswalks separately.

The crosswalks will then be painted to look like bricks, like the crosswalks in Montevallo, Mims said.

Paving in the parks and a bridge over the creek at Ollie Park are also planned.

A clock near the entrance to city hall was recently replaced after the previous one was damaged by the remains of Hurricane Zeta. Mims said the city had received insurance money to pay for a replacement, but had to wait for the clock to be delivered.

“It’s an atomic clock,” Mims said. “It will reset itself if the power goes off. It will reset itself for Daylight Savings Time, where the other one didn’t.”

Improvements are also planned for Corner Park. The stage will be painted, and Mims is researching the possibility of having a mural painted on the side of the building to the right of the stage.

Two alleys are set to be repaved and have Christmas lights strung on the sides.

“I am trying to get it to where if we are having something in town at night people can park at River Bank, and we have that parking lot that we own behind the Frozen Goat … they can park back there … We will light that alley way and this one up here,” Mims said. “Then, if these businesses want to stay open at night, they will have somewhere for people to park and feel safe when they are walking through those alleys.”

Lighting is also a concern in other parts of the city.

Beyond downtown there are also efforts being made to make improvements. Plans are in the works to convert the lighting at the Interstate 65, Exit 205 and along Highway 31 to LED lighting.

Mims said he is talking to the state about making the conversion to LED on the street lights on other state highway intersections.

Long-term plans for downtown include a new building for the Clanton Police Department and Municipal Court. Funding options are being explored.