One of the area’s newest employers received a $50,000 boost from a neighbor about 25 miles away as Dothan commissioners voted this week to assist Abbeville Fiber with railway improvements.
Officially, the Dothan City Commission approved the gift to the Houston-Henry Industrial Development Authority. The Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce and Houston County government have also contributed $50,000 each to the project, which will construct a railway spur that benefits the new sawmill and potentially other businesses south of it.
When discussing the project in a previous meeting, Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba expressed his excitement about the request, stating commissioners “understand the importance of regionalism” in economic development. The city budgets money for economic development projects yearly, and the $50,000 will hail from those funds, Dothan City Manager Kevin Cowper said.
Abbeville Fiber, which inhabits the former West Point Pepperell building in Abbeville, currently employs half of its projected workforce of between 105 and 115, according to information from Henry County Commission Chairman/Probate Judge David Money. A media invite to the grand opening, which is Tuesday at 10 a.m., noted the first load of logs arrived at the facility on July 8.
Gov. Kay Ivey, Yellawood CEO Jimmy Rane and Money are the projected keynote speakers at the grand opening.
In other action, the commission:
>> approved a change order in the contract with Saliba Construction Company to construct the Wiregrass Public Safety Center, increasing the amount $316,120 to a total of $18,629,613. General Services Director Randy Morris expects the project to be complete at the end of October.
>> approved a contract with Palmer Electric Construction Company to install a generator at the Golf Creek sewer lift station located on Omussee Road.
>> accepted a $56,426.16 grant for approved traffic enforcement/safety programs and equipment as part of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs’ Law Enforcement Traffic Safety program.
>> accepted $26,553 from the U.S. Department of Justice for the purchase of law enforcement technology advancement and equipment as part of the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program.
>> approved the utilization of $12,262 in seizure funds to pay allowable expenditures for the police department.
>> failed to approve James M. Brown’s application for a lounge retail liquor license (on or off premise) for Salon de las Estrellas at 3815 Ross Clark Circle. District 1 Commissioner Kevin Dorsey moved to approve the application, but no other commissioners seconded it.
>> reappointed Angela McNeal and Chad Lisenby as full members of the Board of Zoning Adjustment and Vanita Sansom McLain as a supernumerary BZA member.
>> reappointed Charles Nailen to the Dothan-Houston County Airport Authority.
>> announced the appointment of Jocelyn Gutzmore as a member of the Dothan Housing Authority to fill the unexpired term of Sheila Lee.
>> approved payments of July 2019’s invoices totaling $17,395,809.12.
>> awarded bids and approved other purchases worth more than $15,000.
>> approved advance travel requests for city employees.
>> accepted a warranty deed from Bobby Bivens for the Denton Road widening project.
>> accepted a construction easement from Billy Byrd Family Holdings, LLC, needed for relocation of utilities for the Ross Clark Circle expansion project.
>> ordered certain properties deemed as nuisances and public health risks due to vegetation overgrowth to be abated.
>> declared certain properties overgrown with weeds and other vegetation as injurious to the health, safety and welfare of the community and called for a public hearing on the matter at its Sept. 17 meeting.