City taking steps to annex Walker County Lake

By RON HARRIS, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 1/10/18

City leaders have taken the first steps necessary to annex the Walker County Lake into the Jasper city limits.

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City taking steps to annex Walker County Lake

Posted

City leaders have taken the first steps necessary to annex the Walker County Lake into the Jasper city limits.

Mayor David O’Mary informed city council members during Tuesday morning’s council meeting that an application has been completed and sent into the Alabama Department of Conservation to begin the process.

The subject of annexing the county lake was first broached about six months ago, O’Mary said. It had been a topic of discussion many times prior to that.

“About six months ago it all bubbled up again,” O’Mary said, adding that he then reached out to officials with the state Department of Conservation.

Ed Poolos, who now serves as deputy director of the Department of Conservation and lives in Jasper, was favorable to the idea, O’Mary said, as were Walker County Commission chairman Jerry Bishop and county commission member Keith Davis.

“I had a lengthy discussion with (Bishop) and Keith Davis about the city annexing the property, and what I told them was that I hoped they had no objection to this, and they were both very receptive to the idea,” O’Mary said.

Last week, O’Mary received word that Poolos and officials with the Department of Conservation were ready to sign the application to move forward with the annexation.

City leaders filled out the necessary paperwork for the annexation, and that has been sent in, city planner Keith Pike said.

“I think we’ll have that back soon,” OMary said, adding that the application has to be signed by Gov. Kay Ivey.

O’Mary said the annexation of the county lake into the city would be a boon to the city. “It will certainly be a tremendous recreational asset,” he said.

Adding the lake into the city won’t necessary be a financial windfall, the mayor added.

“That would be hard to quantify, because it will cost us some money,” he said, “but I think it will be very beneficial to the city of Jasper.”

The timing of the annexation is right, O’Mary said. “To have the state government in favor of this and to have the county government in favor of this, those stars may not align again,” he said.

“That’s why we want to strike while the iron’s hot.”

Several state lakes across Alabama have recently been annexed into municipalities, O’Mary told council members.

The process should take be completed within the next two months.

“If there are no glitches at the state level, we could very well have annexation of the Walker County Lake complete within the first quarter of this year,” O’Mary said. “I know this has come up over the years, but to have it coming together now is exciting, and I think it will be a real plus for the city.”