By Cady Inabinett, Editor in chief
Montevallo is one step closer to having sidewalks running along Alabama Highway 25, after the Montevallo City Council voted to accept a bid from a contractor to construct the sidewalks at their Oct. 9 meeting.
The council unanimously voted to accept a bid from Southeastern Sealcoating Inc. to construct sidewalks along Highway 25 for $642,670.
When discussing this bid, Mayor Rusty Nix pointed out that the city has been pursuing constructing sidewalks along Highway 25 since 2020. Earlier this year, the city opened the bid process for this project, but only received one bid that Nix described as coming in with an “extremely high” cost, prompting the city to reopen the bid process again.
City clerk Steve Gilbert said that the city worked with county officials to connect with more bidders for the rebidding process, and received four bids.
The bid from Southeastern Sealcoating was roughly $150,000 less than the lowest bid from the previous round of bidding, according to Nix, prompting him to say, “We did good.”
Gilbert spoke to the financial feasibility of the project as well. He pointed out that funding will be derived from the Regional Planning Commission, with additional funding coming from the Montevallo Development Cooperative District.
“We’re pretty much where we need to be budget-wise on that. We shouldn’t have to ask for any additional funding at this point,” said Gilbert.
Gilbert also provided a rough timeline for the project, saying that he expects work to start at the end of the month. Southeastern Sealcoating will then have 90 days to complete sidewalk installation.
The council also discussed another infrastructure related measure at their meeting, focusing on a resolution granting Yellowhammer Networks the right to construct, maintain and operate a fiber optic network within Montevallo city limits in order to provide internet and related services to Montevallo residents.
George Henry, the CEO of Yellowhammer Networks, was present at the meeting to discuss what this project would entail. Henry pointed out that the network will run throughout the city to provide subscribed residents internet services through their contracted provider, Omnipoint. He said he hopes that a fiber optic network in Montevallo will help bridge the digital divide.
“We’re really going to work to increase the ability to have healthcare, jobs, education, you know, some of those opportunities that you don’t have if you don’t have some type of reliable broadband,” said Henry.
The council did not vote on this measure at this meeting, but will at their next meeting on Oct. 23. If approved, the agreement will last for a 20-year period.
In addition to discussing these two measures, the council read a proclamation celebrating 30 years of carvings by Tim Tingle in Orr Park.
Tingle first began carving designs into damaged trees in Orr Park following a blizzard in 1993—sneaking into the park at night to do so. He got caught after doing his sixth carving, but, instead of punishing Tingle, the city set aside a portion of the park to allow him to continue.
Today, there are 53 tree carvings done by Tingle in Orr Park.
“Tim Tingle, through his time and talent, has given Montevallo a priceless gift that is immeasurable,” said Nix. “No value can be placed on what one man has done that brings such a delight to the community and has brought folks from all over the world to Montevallo.”
The council also heard from Montevallo student Aidan Peach regarding stop signs in areas near the University of Montevallo’s campus. Peach, who was addressing the council on behalf of Montevallo’s SGA, said that many people do not fully stop at stop signs in areas around campus.
“I’ve noticed that a lot of, like, students and also civilians as well that they use the stop signs as more of a yield, if that makes sense,” Peach said.
As a solution, Peach suggested placing LED lights on stop signs in busy areas to draw attention to them.
“It might be more apparent that there’s a stop sign there, stopping students from just flying through,” he said.
In response, Nix asked the Montevallo Police Department to look into the feasibility of installing these features.
The next city council meeting will be held Monday, Oct. 23, at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at City Hall and livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page.
Cady Inabinett is the editor in chief of The Alabamian. She’s majoring in English and double-minoring in political science and peace and justice studies. She enjoys reading, watching movies, caring for houseplants and generally just being pretentious in her free time.