Mayor: Roads in dire need of repair

Posted 8/24/18

OAKMAN — Town officials in Oakman are working diligently to determine how necessary road repairs can be funded.    As Oakman Mayor Cory Franks looks forward to 2019 town planning, he said …

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Mayor: Roads in dire need of repair


OAKMAN — Town officials in Oakman are working diligently to determine how necessary road repairs can be funded.    

As Oakman Mayor Cory Franks looks forward to 2019 town planning, he said at the Thursday, Aug. 16, town council meeting that he wants safer roads to be a priority. Franks said Dunn Construction company has determined School Street, Plant Street, Market Street and a portion of Dixie Street are the roads in desperate need of repair, in part due to high traffic volume.

"A lot of the school buses travel these roads. Some of these roads are dangerous, and when we're a small town, a lot of times you just don't have the funds, equipment or personnel to go out and pay for roads," Franks said. "We have to start looking at ways to improve our roads and what we can do from where we sit to make those things happen."

Franks said to have the roads repaved and black topped would cost roughly $300,000. He added that some roads in the town cannot be black topped due to the way they were initially designed, but they can be resurfaced.

Conversations have been had with Rep. Tim Wadsworth, R-Arley, on ways the town could have the road work completed, whether it be through grants or another funding source. Franks said the town could even explore earmarking sales tax revenue specifically for road repairs.     

"There's ways to get it done," Franks said. "If we can make this thing happen, we should be able to have a lot of that done over the course of two to three years."

He added, "You just have to understand that when you're in a small town and you want things to be better, it costs to do those things. ... It's our community, and it's our responsibility to make sure that we are doing things and supporting things that can possibly help us get to where we need to be."  

Overall, Franks said he not only looks forward to having the town's roads repaired, but also the upcoming work to their sewer system and further development of their parks and recreation department. 

"I'm excited for the coming year. We do have some really good possibilities for the town of Oakman. It looks really bright for our future," he said.  

He said he is thankful to everyone who has helped the town during his tenure as mayor, even people that don't live in the town of Oakman. Franks said someone recently donated a new sign for the town's senior center, and another individual will soon be donating property to the town. 

In other town business, the council:

• Heard that McGehee Engineering of Jasper is being considered to represent the town in various matters. While the mayor didn't state the town's current engineer, he did express that he would like the opportunity to consider people he would like in place during his tenure. 

"It's not knocking anybody, but I feel like if we're paying somebody to do something, I would like them to be involved in our community and know what we have going on," he said. "I think it's only fair that I'm given the opportunity to have who I would like to have as the town engineer while I'm here."

A representative from McGehee Engineering was at last Thursday's council meeting, and the company has promised to always have representation at their meetings.

McGehee has already provided Oakman with an aerial map of the town, free of charge, to help with planning for the upcoming Day's Gap Festival.

The council has not voted to officially have McGehee as the town's engineer, and Franks said they will continue to consider their options. 

"They (McGehee Engineering) offer a lot of services that we're paying for, and we're paying people that are not even from Walker County to do some services for us," he said.

Franks added that he would like to employee locals to do town projects, if at all possible.

• Heard Oakman Parks and Recreation Director Willie Moore announce the registration for other sports that will be offered in the town. He said they plan to offer square dancing and ballroom dancing in the coming months at Oakman Senior Center.

Moore further encouraged the he wants everyone to be able to participate in the services they plan to offer for every age group.

"If there are children you know that can't afford to play, let us know. We'll find somebody to sponsor them. We don't want to leave any children out at all," Moore said.

To learn about current sports open for registration, call Oakman Town Hall at (205) 622-3232 or visit the Town of Oakman Facebook page.

• Heard people were encouraged to spread the word about the town's Day's Gap Fest, scheduled for Oct. 12-13. They are still accepting registration for vendors and are looking for volunteers for the festival that will feature live music, activities, food and crafts vendors, a car and motorcycle show and more.