County, residents reach agreement on road
by Aziza Jackson
TALLADEGA — The County Commission held a public hearing regarding the relocation of Shelvin Rock Road prior to its regularly scheduled meeting Monday night.

Both Omya and Imerys quarries are looking to close off the East and West ends of Shelvin Rock Road, located on the southern tip of the Sylacauga and Fayetteville Highway.

By shutting off those ends, both quarries hope to cut down on safety hazards for their trucks and local residents.

The quarries proposed a new road be built that would connect the residential portion of the road to the highway, narrowing down the current two crossings where the road intersects the highway to one crossing.

Residents were fine with closing the Eastside of the road because they said it was already very dangerous to travel on, however, they were concerned that closing the Westside portion of the road that connects to the highway would only leave them with a “one-way in, one-way out” road (that road being the new proposed road) that would be subject to sinkholes.

“If we have one way in, one way out, if that road closes, we’re stuck,” said Shelvin Rock Road resident Michael Morris. “I don’t like the idea of one way in and one way out and I won’t ever like it.”

Another motive for closing the West portion of the road was to limit access to and eventually cut down on the number of teenagers hanging out at the quarry, according to Craig Stickley, from Omya.

Commission Chairman Jimmy C. Roberson, who is over District 4 where the road is located, recommended that the request to relocate the road be removed from the regular meeting’s agenda and it was approved by the commission.

As the regular meeting took place, the two sides eventually reached an agreement in the conference room and agreed to a revised location of the road that was more “L-shaped,” according to County Attorney Barry Vaughn.

Roberson asked that County Engineer Tim Markert mail letters to the 12 residents who live somewhere along the road and in the areas that would be affected to let them know that a decision on the revised “L-shaped” road will be voted on at the Tuesday, Nov. 27, county commission meeting.

Willie Andrew Farrior was recognized by District 3 Commissioner Kelvin Cunningham for his many accomplishments in the county and for his recent 90th birthday.

Cunningham presented Farrior, who was joined by a number of family members, with a plaque thanking him for his service to both hearing and blind communities.

Included in his long list of accomplishments is the fact that Farrior was the first African American to be given the title of Alabama Industries for the Blind Worker of the Year in 1973.

Farrior moved to Talladega in 1950 and worked at Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind for about 40 years before retiring.

“We are blessed to have Mr. Farrior in our county, state, and nation,” Cunningham said. “We just want to present this to you and say God bless you and we wish you another 90 years.”

Cunningham presented Farrior, who is a Jackie Robinson fan, with a plaque that had a quote from Robinson, along with a hat from the baseball “Negro League.”

“I hope that my life has helped somebody else, particularly blind people,” Farrior said. “There was a time when if you were blind if you couldn’t play music or sing you’d have to beg. I can’t sing but I can talk.

“One thing I can say about blind people, is most of us are good lookers.”

Farrior said that he was proud of his family and thanked Cunningham and the commission for the recognition.

Wilfred Smith, requested that the commission help provide access to Watershed Lakes via a road that has been blocked off.

Smith said that the road had not been maintained in the last 25 years.

“I’m asking you all to number one perform maintenance on these roads and I’d like you to control these easements,” Smith said.

County Attorney Barry Vaughn said that according to contracts drafted about 100 years ago, the county has a responsibility to only maintain a watershed and a gate, and has no authority over the road.

The contract was drafted by the Cheaha Creek Watershed Conservation District, an agency that no longer exists.

“We can’t use public money on private property,” Vaughn said. “There’s nothing here that says we can do anything.”

In other business, the commission:

• Approved a tax abatement for Resolute FP US, Inc.

• Approved a tax abatement for Heritage Plastics, Inc.

• Approved a 911 Inter-Agency contract.

• Approved budget amendments.

• Approved all personnel changes.

• Approved all conference and training requests.

• Approved expenditures at $293,357.44.

The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 6. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The 2012 Census reported changes in population within areas of Talladega County. The shift in population brought about changes in voter representation by county commissioners. The new districts will be implemented on the ballots in the 2012 general election.

Monday, Nov. 12 is Veteran’s Day and offices will be closed.

The next commission meeting is Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 6 p.m. as required by the Alabama Code and the Open Meetings Law that county commissions establish its regular and first meeting following the election of county commissioners. County commissioners elected on Tuesday, Nov. 6, will take office on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 12 a.m.

Contact Aziza Jackson at ajackson@dailyhome.com.

© 2012