Orange Beach to develop north end of Powerline Road.By John Mullen

March 23, 2019 – Orange Beach, AL (OBA®) – The City of Orange Beach is moving forward with plans to pave a small portion the north end of Powerline Road as soon as a lawsuit over the acquisition of the land is settled in court.

“The question now becomes what is the value of the land in the court and hopefully it will be resolved in about 30 days,” City Administrator Ken Grimes said.

Big plans are in the works for the strip of road from Canal Road south to Sewer Plant Road. Orange Beach is hiring Sawgrass Consulting for about $175,000 to design the roadway and make bring some other city roadways between Powerline Road and the Sportsplex up to code.

Orange Beach to develop north end of Powerline Road.The contract was awarded during the regular session of the city council on March 19. During the following work session, the council announced bids would be opened soon on the new gymnasium at the Recreation Center complex.

Sewer Plant Road is an east-west road that connects from the back to the soccer fields and down to Powerline Road north of the sewer plant. That road exists and it’s paved but it doesn’t meet standards as a city street at this point, Grimes said.

“It’ll have to be improved and widened a little bit to get two lanes and striped,” Grimes said. “Now it’s just mainly a road for people to get to the sewer plant and for big trucks and dump their load. And then we also included the entrance to the Sportsplex and that side road that goes down toward the soccer field and improve it with two lanes.”

Powerline Road has existed for years and was even once the only north-south route to the beach. It has turned into a controversial road of late with elected officials saying it would be a traffic fix to have the road operational again. But a clause in a lawsuit over the building of the state park lodge and convention center prohibits new roads in the park for 20 years.

“On the Powerline Road side that improvement will be a little bit wider with the ability to hopefully expand and create drainage on each side,” Grimes said. “That’s in preparation for when the final hearing happens with the condemnation with the Georgine Connor property then we’ll be able to move and start construction.”

Once the roadway improvements the city will then start to work in earnest on getting the Public Works complex moved from William Silvers Parkway to the east side of Powerline Road.

City Administrator Ken of Orange Beach, Alabama.“That triggers the dominoes that everything begins to happen and you’ll see the bids and things related to Public Works,” Grimes said. “We’re going to design and rebuild Public Works on the site, the land we’re going to get from the Connors.”

The land where Public Works now sits will become an important addition to the new high school and middle school being built on the same property to the west.

“When (the new Public Works) gets built and we demolish and raze everything that’s at Public Works today.” Grimes said. “In the future that’s where the goal of the football field would be for the high school.”

NEW GYMNASIUM

Bids were scheduled to be opened on March 26 for the new gymnasium and Grimes said the city would like to see it opened this fall. The bid will likely be awarded at the April 2 council meeting, city clerk Renee Eberly said.

“We have a seven-month target of getting it completed and the goal is by basketball season,” Grimes said. “If they can get moving quickly hopefully by the end of the year, we can be playing basketball in there.”

It will be slightly bigger than the current gym but will be split to make small courts for the younger basketball leagues.

“If you picture the current gym and you’re looking at the basketball court and added four feet on each side and probably 20 feet on each baseline, that would be the walls,” Grimes said. “We did that so it would fit on the site because when we used that court it’s mainly going to be the little, little kids on the eight-foot goals. But we wanted the full-size courts in it so if had tournaments in the future that gives us another option for high school and middle school basketball.”

The work there will also include a refurbishment of the entire look on the recreation center.

“The outside is going to be a little bit different and then we’ll probably repaint the entire rec center to match up with the newness of it because the rec center kind of gotten dated as far as the paint color,” Grimes said. “The roof is definitely in bad shape as far as fading. You’ll see improvements to the whole property.”

During the regular session the council also:

  • Approved a liquor license for the Blind Tiger which is scheduled to open in The Wharf in the former Bayes Southern Bar and Grill location in the Springhill Suites by Marriot.
  • Approved a liquor license for Desmond’s Taste of Jamaica going into the old Buns in the Sun and Grape Escape location on Loop Road.

During the work session the council discussed:

  • Resolutions opposing current legislation being proposed in the Alabama Legislature, the first being an effort led by State Sen. Chris Elliott, R-Daphne, to do away with police jurisdictions beyond city limits. The second would eliminate lodging taxes for tents, recreational vehicles or marine slips.
  • A resolution awarding the bid for a Police Department video system.
  • A resolution awarding the bid for self-contained breathing apparatus for the Fire Department.
  • A resolution declaring the "Back-to-School" Sales Tax Holiday July 19-21.
  • A resolution appropriating funds for the Expect Excellence Program for Fiscal Year 2019 in an amount not to exceed $270,000.
  • A resolution paying Olsen Associates to perform engineered beach annual monitoring in the amount of $48,200.