Council approves soil testing for Oxford sports complex
by Eddie Burkhalter
eburkhalter@annistonstar.com
Jul 09, 2013 | 3847 views |  0 comments | 157 157 recommendations | email to a friend | print
OXFORD – It’s been years in the making, but with a new set of plans and a vote to begin soil tests, Oxford’s proposed sports complex took another step forward today.

The Council agreed during Tuesday’s meeting to allow the architectural firm Goodwyn Mills and Cawood to begin testing soil at the site, which is across from the Oxford Exchange. That work is needed before construction on the sports complex can begin.

The city filed a 2011 lawsuit against the former architects of the sports complex, Barge, Waggoner, Sumner and Cannon, alleging the firm was negligent in their design after ancient human remains, thought to be Native American, were found buried there. Work was stopped at the site in February 2010 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The city has since met a mitigation plan meant to ensure no more ancient artifacts will be disturbed.

In another matter, the council discussed the need for additional safety measures for drivers at the increasingly busy intersection of Leon Smith Parkway and Friendship Road. The council agreed Tuesday to sign a contract with the Birmingham engineering firm Sain and Associates to begin studies of how to make the intersection safer, including the possibility of installing a traffic light at the intersection.

Sain and Associates will first conduct a study to determine if a traffic signal is needed before drafting plans to put one up at the intersection.

Recent work, including restriping the traffic lanes and adding a blinking light at the intersection, has helped reduce the number of accidents, but more work is needed, said Councilman Chris Spurlin.

“It’s better, but we’re still having wrecks,” Spurlin said. “It’s time to do something.”

Speaking with an engineer at Sain, Waits said he was told that low-speed, rear-end collisions may increase as a result of a traffic light, but the more dangerous, high-speed collisions would likely decrease.

The council also decided Tuesday to move up the time at which pre-meetings are held by 15 minutes to give council members more time to discuss city business.

Those meetings, which are open to the public and give the council and mayor time to discuss matters before they come to a vote, were held at 5:45 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Council meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. on those days. Pre-meetings will now be held at 5:30 p.m.

In other business, the council:

• Annexed .34 acres, to be zoned R-1 (Residential) at 602 Lane Road in Talladega County, owned by Lorrie McKinney.

• Authorized the mayor to buy fencing, fence gates and related supplies from Oxford Fence Company for $10,200 for the city’s youth sports complex. Gates on dugouts are a requirement in order to host Dixie Youth League baseball tournaments, said Council President Steven Waits.

• Agreed to enter into a contract with Ingenuity Inc. to redesign the city’s website and provide ongoing website hosting support for a period of three years.

Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.

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