Vidalia approves land sale for developmentPublished 12:04am Wednesday, July 11, 2012
VIDALIA — The Vidalia Board of Aldermen voted Tuesday to approve the sale of city-owned land to developers who plan to build apartments and single-family homes in the southern half of town.suspicion
The 144-acre tract will be sold at market value, which City Manager Ken Walker said is $3,600 an acre.
The land abuts Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and borders the BASF and Fruit of the Loom industrial properties, Walker said.
Walker has previously said the project will be done with no financial assistance to the developers, REI Development, and that the terms of the sale will dictate that the company build market price, market-rate housing.
The aldermen also voted to approve the hire of seven new firemen who had completed the probationary evaluation period since their initial hire.
One of the firemen was hired to replace someone who quit in November, and the rest were hired in January to man the substation on John Dale Drive that was created when the fire department moved to its new location, Fire Chief Jack Langston said.
Most of the new hires are already firefighter II certified, and were trained at the Vidalia training center, Langston said.
In other news:
-After Alderman Jon Betts asked if the city would enforce a ban on roadblock fundraising, the aldermen agreed to allow Mayor Hyram Copeland to have the final say on whether or not a given organization could have a roadblock.
Copeland said he has in the past made the suggestion that all charities that want to use a roadblock for fundraising to have one major roadblock from which all of the organizations draw funding.
Alderman Tron McCoy said he understood the objection Betts might have to the practice, but that he had himself raised money for causes he believed worthy during a roadblock.
Alderwoman Mo Saunders said she was OK with allowing Copeland to have the final say as long as no children were allowed to participate in the roadblocks for safety reasons.
-The aldermen pre-filed an ordinance that would require all liquor licenses to be renewed annually instead of allowing some businesses to do so semi-annually.
-The aldermen had a public hearing and adopted an ordinance that would require any tree service operating within city limits to haul off debris it generates.
-Copeland and the aldermen took their oaths of office for the new term during the meeting.
Copeland noted that he was beginning his ninth term as an elected official, and said he was glad to have a board of aldermen with whom he could work.
“We are going to argue, and I am headstrong, because I always believe I am right, but it has been an honor to serve this community,” Copeland said.
“I have been all over this state, and never have I found a place like this community. We have been accused of doing too much for our citizens, but I am proud of what we have done.”
The mayor said he was looking forward to completing projects currently in the works — the Vidalia port, the city’s broadband initiative and a marina on the Mississippi River — during this term.