Sgt. David McLain receives and service weapon and badge from Mayor Tony Kennon.
By John Mullen
March 8, 2018 – Orange Beach, AL (OBA) – Orange Beach’s Expect Excellence program is off to a rousing start with more than 150 kids signed up for the variety of educational and athletic activities at the city’s recreation center.
“We had the 150 signups in five business days and that has grown in the last hour as well,” Director Jonathan Langston said. “It is an inundating task and we have a great staff together and we are putting on something really special.”
At the March 6 meeting, the city council voted to spend $60,000 to continue the program through the end of May. Mayor Tony Kennon presented a video showing children engaged in all aspects of the program. Also, at the meeting, Sgt. David McLain was awarded his service weapon and badge as part of his retirement from the Orange Beach Police Department.
“Jonathan and his crew put all this together in four weeks,” Kennon said. “All this is all happening simultaneously for three hours. And we have 83 children at Camp Sunshine so we have almost 240 children now in our afterschool programs. I wanted y’all to see what they’ve accomplished in four weeks.”
Kids were shown taking guitar lessons, hitting softballs, working in the homework lab with two certified teachers, in a theater class and as well as other athletic training.
“On the other side of the curtain we have free rec play and all the kids are playing dodgeball,” Kennon said. “We also have speed, agility and strength training for the younger kids.”
McLain, as several citizens and council members pointed out, was and is much more than a police officer for the city since coming to work in 1995. He has spent many years coaching several sports in youth leagues as well as girls basketball and football at Gulf Shores Middle School.
“What’s made David so famous for us that’s unique beyond the police officer role was his many, many years of working as a coach, working with the churches, working with the kids,” City Administrator Ken Grimes said. “In those roles, there are very few people, and some are in the room today, that made that kind of an impact for so long on the kids of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores.”
Councilman Jerry Johnson also spoke to the many areas where McLain played a vital role in both cities and in the lives of children.
“Whether it be a Kids’ Night Out or if he was coaching or if he was at vacation Bible school, he was actually working,” Johnson said. “Officer Dave has the essence of this community in his heart. The love you have in your heart for people, especially kids, is something that is a glowing image for you and your legacy.”
Angela Bateman and Mayor Tony Kennon.
During the regular session the council:
• Presented Events Operations Director Angela Bateman with the city’s first “above and beyond” award. Among her many duties, Bateman was cited for her work on the recent Orange Beach Seafood Festival which saw a record crowd on Feb. 24.
• Postponed transferring land on Canal Road to the Baldwin County Board of Education until the March 20 council meeting. The transfer was first proposed in the Dec. 12 council regular session and has been postponed in every meeting since. Baldwin County wants to build a seventh-through-12th-grade school at the site of the former sewage plant.
• At the request of the applicant postponed a request for a change in the Amber Isle planned unit development on the north side of beach road at the far west of the city limits. Owners of Big Wave Dave’s restaurant want to build a covered deck for outside seating.
• Approved liquor license applications for Walgreen’s, Cactus Cantina on beach road in the former Hazel’s location, for Gilbey’s Seafood and Steak in Palm Plaza and for Playa, Johnny Fisher’s new restaurant going into the old Shipp’s Harbour location at Sportsman Marina.
• Authorized the purchase of a mower for Coastal Resources for $33,171 for use on the Backcountry Trail.
• Authorized a contract with Southern Engineering Solutions, Inc., to provide design and permitting services for the Backcountry Trail Interpretive Loop Project in an amount not to exceed for $15,500.
• Authorized the purchase of a generator for the fire department’s administration building for $32,282.
• Appropriated $10,000 from a private grant to the city toward the purchase of a grand piano for the Coastal Arts Center through the Friends of the Arts. The group will have a Grand Event fundraiser on May 11 to help pay the total of $23,000.
• Authorized $47,882 for the remodel of the beach barn on Alabama 161 at the Cotton Bayou trailhead.
• Authorized contracts with Lucido Engineering for civil engineering, land surveying, and environmental consulting services for the city and to survey the beach to determine mean high tide location at a cost of $8,150.
During the work session the council discussed:
• Setting a public hearing date for proposed changes to the business license ordinance to add a vacation rental category and limit areas of the city where houses can be used as rentals for 14 days or less. The hearing will be at the March 20 council meeting.
• Purchasing of Qwick Kurb vertical lane separators on Canal Road at the entrance to Doc’s Seafood Shack.
• Awarding a bid for a new SUV for the police department support services division.
• Authorizing the Mayor to execute a pipeline right-of-way contract with the state park for maintenance of sanitary and storm sewers at Rose Lane and Alabama 161. The work involves the construction of the new Dollar General planned for that location.