The city council approved a development agreement for Plainsman Lake, a planned neighborhood adjoining the Solamere subdivision, during its Tuesday evening session. The proposal has been postponed from the previous meeting to give Solamere residents more time to read it.
During the contract negotiations, several Solamere residents, including the homeowners association president, spoke to the council with concerns about construction traffic through their neighborhood. The subdivision currently has only one entrance from Martin Luther King Drive.
City Manager Megan Crouch said the developers are ready to create a building entrance on Martin Luther King Drive, but that it needs to be approved by the Alabama Department of Transportation, which does not approve building entrances for projects without a development contract.
ALDOT controls Martin Luther King Drive, so changes and entrances must be approved by the department. Crouch explained that the Solamere driveway has no traffic lights as not enough traffic is getting through to meet ALDOT’s requirements for the installation. The neighborhood can meet the requirements once the Plainsman Lake subdivision is built, but ALDOT only decides on the traffic that is already there.
The city also approved the construction of a connecting road to Richland Road last year, but it has not yet been put out to tender, Crouch said. It is planned to award to the contractors in October. The street would provide a second entrance to the Solamere area.
“The developer is committed to minimizing traffic as much as possible,” said Ward 2 council member Kelley Griswold. “I know that’s not the answer you want to hear, but we can’t force to come out [Highway] 14. They have also undertaken that they will do so when ALDOT has given the green light. “
The Council unanimously approved the development agreement.
The council also approved a $ 1.5 million contract for more than five years to provide the Auburn Police Division with newer technology. The contract includes body and vehicle cameras that send live footage to police headquarters, virtual reality training, and community training.
“This option will allow us to have body-worn cameras, car cameras and tasers with a sensor for the cameras to work, and all of that will be integrated,” said Paul Register, director of public safety. “In addition, we will have the ability to review video and live views of critical events, where management staff can see what is happening.”
Register said the system also has built-in GPS that allows command personnel to see exactly where an officer is during an incident. Recordings from body and car cameras can be used as evidence in legal proceedings.
“This is cutting edge technology and I commend our police department for keeping up to date,” said Ward 8 council member Tommy Dawson. “That brings us very close to the bigger cities, I think. This is great for the security of the officers and for liability issues. “
Mayor Ron Anders said he toured the Mobile, Alabama Police Department with public safety personnel and learned that Auburn is following the practice in accordance with major metropolitan areas.
The council unanimously approved the treaty.
During the meeting, representatives from the city’s East Alabama Medical Center presented an award to thank them for their help in setting up and running the EAMC’s vaccination clinic.
When the EAMC decided to start a community vaccination clinic, hospital workers met with city officials to form a coalition, said Bruce Zartman, vice president of support operations for EAMC. Crouch secured a two-month lease for the retail space on Tuesday morning, and the city had the building cleaned, modernized, and operational the week after the meeting.
“We have touched so many people and saved lives,” said Zartman. “About 91,000 vaccines were given by this vaccine clinic on Tuesday morning. People asked me if we could do this in another community and I don’t think we could. “
The community vaccination clinic saw about 1,000 people a day, Zartman said. The city extended the lease twice to keep the clinic running. The city also provided two to four firefighters daily to provide medical assistance to patients with reactions or anxiety, as well as staff registration desks.
“City staff spent a total of 3,150 hours manning the registration desks and making sure that all visitors who walked into this clinic each day were comfortable and knew exactly where they were going,” said Anders. “Public security worked over 1,100 hours of overtime to ensure the clinic was a safe place and that all cars could get on and off as needed and everyone from all walks of life could be safely brought to the clinic.”
Anders thanked the Auburn United Methodist Church for bringing a total of 1,200 community volunteers with a total of 8,900 hours. He also thanked the Auburn Chamber of Commerce for catering to volunteers and the Auburn Opelika Tourism Bureau for providing food and drink for the break room.
“You see, an investment has been made,” said Anders. “The City of Auburn wanted to make sure the community had everything it needed to make this happen.”
Anders said the city spent a total of $ 136,000 on the vaccine clinic’s efforts, including renting the space and upgrading it, paying for utilities, lunches for volunteers, cleaning costs, and supplies.
“That’s a lot of money, but considering getting 91,000 people vaccinated, it was a small price to pay to make sure our community was cared for,” said Anders. “A community effort led by some of the town’s staff, supported by the hospital’s medical staff, with partners across the county, ensured Auburn was the safest place there can be.”