ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) — The Athens-Limestone County Chamber of Commerce held its annual state of the city address this week.
Mayor Ronnie Marks updated people on the progress of Athens and highlighted plans to revitalize the city.
The Vine Street community is hopeful those plans include fixing some issues that have plagued the community for decades.
“This drain has been stopped up it seems like forever,” Jerry Yarborough said. “Water has nowhere to water to go when it rains hard.”
Yarborough has lived on Vine Street for nearly two decades. He says whenever there is rain in the forecast, he looks at the clogged drains on his street and knows there will be trouble. He says the issues on his street have been ignored for far too long.
“They refuse to fix it. It seems they fix things everywhere except here,” Yarborough explained. “At the very least they can bring us gravel to put back in our driveway that has washed from the rains. We have asked the city and it seems that they just don’t care about this part of the neighborhood.”
Marks addressed the issues on Vine Street and highlighted other projects in his annual state of the city address. The mayor understands that it’s a tough way to live. Marks and his administration are determined to fix the problems,
“Vine Street is a project that we’ve looked at for several years. It’s a lot of drainage problems in that area of town. It’s located near the old Trinity school in that area which is a little bit more of a low-income area that needs some attention,” Marks said.
Marks told News 19 that the repairs on Vine Street will cost the city nearly $2 million. The mayor announced a CDBG grant to help fund repairs to the drainage, paving and sidewalks. Bidding for the work is expected to start this summer. Marks spoke on several different aspects of the city’s growth, including improvements to public safety with a new bid for fire stations and fire trucks.
“That brings on more employees and certainly fire engines. Hopefully, it will be located near Athens High School. As soon as we finish the first one, we need to look at a facility most likely with a police bay and maybe even an ambulance bay down at the tanner crossroad area,” Marks said.
Residents of Vines Street would welcome to be a part of the mayor’s plans to improve the city of Athens.
“Somebody has to do something. We hope mayor Marks will help us. He said that for two or three years and hasn’t done anything. It doesn’t make sense,” Yarborough said.
During his address, the mayor also thanked the city council’s 419 full-time employees for their dedication to making Athens great.