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Investing in Hartselle’s future

By Randy Garrison

I thought I would share information from last week’s city council meeting.  

The evening began with a 1.5-hour work session, in which the Capital Improvement Budget for Fiscal Year 2020-2021 was presented to the city council by the city clerk and myself.  

There are several items in the capital budget that will bring improvements to the city as well as promote additional business and retail growth. Basically, the city will be investing in the infrastructure in ways that will promote growth and additional sales tax dollars.  

Sales tax is the life blood of most municipalities. With sales tax, the city offers services that directly affect each and every citizen.  

These services include police and fire protection, our city parks and recreation facilities, our street department and sanitation servicesas well as other city services that are funded in part by sales tax revenue. 

So when the city invests in itself, the investment is really in services and way of life for the citizens of Hartselle. 

One of the items in the CIP budget for next year is a grant match for Highway 31 improvements. The plans include adding alternating left turns from the Walmart intersection (Curry Street and Highway 31) continuing north to Sparkman Street. The plans also include the intersection at Sparkman and Highway 31 and west to Lane Road, which would be realigned, as well as possibly adding a traffic signal at this intersection. 

The cost of more than $2,000,000 is being requested in a grant through the Alabama Department of Transportation. The program is called Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program II, or ATRIP II, and is funded through the new gas tax passed last year.  

The program’s goal is to address critical needs projects across the state to rehabilitate and improve the in-place facilities and, in some cases, provide new facilities at locations throughout the state. The program’s focus is an emphasis on the public safety, economic growth and stability of the state and its roads and bridges. 

 The City of Hartselle would pay for the preliminary engineering as matching funds, if the grant is received. The estimated cost for the preliminary engineering is $124,000 – again, an investment in the infrastructure and road system in the city for present and future needs.  

Highway 31 North is where the most interest is shown when a retail business is considering coming to Hartselle. 

Another road project for which the city will be seeking funds to rehabilitate and improve will be the area between the Interstate 65 bridge and Lando Cain Road. The city will be seeking federal funds through the Metropolitan Planning Organization, of which the City of Hartselle is a member. 

Preliminary plans call for a righthand deceleration lane for vehicles turning right onto Lando Cain Road from the west side, as well as a left turn lane onto Lando Cain from the east side of Highway 36.  

Improvements would also be made to widen the entrance to Lando Cain for additional traffic that will accompany the development on the property next to Cracker Barrel, as well as to handle additional traffic from the housing development taking place on the J.P. Cain property.  

The installation of a traffic signal is also part of the plans. The City of Hartselle would be responsible for a percentage of the cost of the improvements, if the funding is appropriated – again, an investment in the future. 

The improvement project at the intersection of Vaughn Bridge Road and Highway 31 has already been approved, and preliminary engineering will be taking place soon, with a possible 2021 construction time frame. The City of Hartselle will also be responsible for a percentage dollar match for this project, as well. 

All three of the abovementioned projects will be muchneeded improvements to the city’s infrastructure and promote growth in retail and commercial development. 

The City of Hartselle is growing and moving forward thanks to all of you who support the city and spend your dollars here. The administration and city council work hard to be good stewards of these dollars.