City sells mill site to Poarch Indians
by Chris Norwood
Nov 20, 2012 | 5218 views |  6 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TALLADEGA — The City Council has agreed to sell the former Wehadkee Yarn Mill site on Battle Street to a group planning to put a Creek Indian Museum and Cultural Center in it for $125,000.

The resolution was voted on with a block of other resolutions and little discussion Monday night, but Greater Talladega Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mack Ferguson had presented a detailed sales pitch earlier this month. At that meeting, the city passed a resolution formally supporting the project, in the hopes that it would help secure permanent funding from the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. Apparently that funding has been secured.

The entrance to the museum itself would be through the existing tower, which would be thoroughly renovated. The site would also contain an outdoor park and a $1.2 million amphitheater.

Inside, the museum would occupy 9,000 square feet, alongside offices, classrooms, restrooms, a kitchen and a pottery studio and gallery. There will also be an event space seating up to 300 people.

Several older buildings on the site will be demolished to provide for necessary parking.

A display depicting life in a Creek Indian village has already been obtained from a museum in Birmingham by Pat Greene, who donated it to the project.

Construction would be carried out in five phases at a total cost of $6.5 million. There will be two full-time employees and art director on staff, as well as many volunteer operations. The finished project will be worth approximately $8 million.

During the same meeting Monday night, the council also accepted property from Howard Developers along the CSX right-of-way near the intersection of Coosa and Court Street signed a lease to CSX for $100 per year. The city agreed to take down some decrepit buildings on the property and possibly, at some future date, develop a parking structure there.

In addition to these two property deals, the council also spent about 35 minutes in executive session Monday night to discuss the acquisition or sale of real property. No action was taken after the regular session resumed.

In addition to the council and City Manager Brian Muenger, Talladega County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Calvin Miller was allowed to attend the executive session.

Also Monday, the council:

• Approved a request from City Clerk Beth Cheeks to attend a regional clerk’s convention in Charleston, S.C., to keep up her certification.

• Approved the hiring of three certified police officers, two of who have worked for the city in the past. The third will be transferring from a department in Alaska.

• Approved a form for organizations seeking city appropriations.

• Approved time limits of five minutes for individuals addressing the council and seven minutes for people speaking on behalf of organizations.

• Approved the recording of pre-council meetings.

• Agreed to more strongly enforce the requirements that people addressing the council identify themselves and the deadline to get on the agenda, which is the Thursday before a Monday meeting at noon.

• Approved an agreement with the County Commission for Siren Services to maintain the 10 emergency sirens in the city limits for $11,600 per year.

• Agreed to surplus two vehicles.

• Purchased a 2013 Ford Expedition for $30,796.

• Purchased a 2013 Ford F250 with utility body and lift gate for $29,629.

• Waived the peddler’s license fee for vendors at the Christmas parade, which will be Dec. 3.

• Heard Muenger announce capital improvement projects involving the roofs of Heritage Hall and the B.N. Mabra Center would be advertised next week.

• Received a letter from Talladega College formally requesting the vacation of portions of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Nolan Street, Cruickshank Street and College Street. A previous council had voted to close Cruickshank, but for some reason the legal work was never done. All of the others would have to follow the state guidelines that require public hearings and input from adjacent property owners.

• Heard Councilman Horace Patterson express thanks for all of the city’s employees, departments and department heads. Councilman Joe Ballow expressed the same sentiment.

• Heard Public Works Director Karen Phillips report that the portion of the new bypass between Alabama 77 and Shocco Springs Road was open, and that the rest of the bypass would be open after Thanksgiving, as soon as the striping is completed. Rumble strips have been placed on either side of the intersections with Alabama 77 and Jackson Trace Road, and will be placed on the intersection with Eastaboga Road as well.

• Heard Muenger report the had been discussing with the city’s attorneys the possibility of a fee for extensions of condemnations and a more thorough approach to such extensions.

• Heard Council President Donnie Miller encourage people to come out for the Christmas parade.

Contact Chris Norwood at cnorwood@dailyhome.com.