BY SARAH STEPHENS
For the past few years, the City of Millbrook has been actively working to acquire land around the downtown area, and most recently has agreed to apply for funding to expand the walking trails around Village Green Park.
In a special called meeting Monday, the Council held a public hearing concerning allowing Mayor Al Kelley to apply for funding under the Recreational Trails Program for Fiscal Year 2021’s funding cycle. The funding is administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA.)
Monday after the public hearing, the council voted in favor of the resolution, which can be read further down in this article below.
“This is one of the first pieces of putting together what will one day be a well-developed downtown area around Village Green Park,” Council President Michael Gay told the EAN. “It would bring another recreational activity for families to enjoy.”
The first phase of development would be from Village Green Park down Edgewood Road. This would be on property already owned by the city. Other phases could be possible, but would require discussions with current property owners, Gay said.
The City also announced they are working with Downtown Strategies staff to come up with a master plan for downtown, to include new businesses, green spaces and a revival of the area around the park, along Main Street, Edgewood Road and Grandview Road.
Gay said that as that plan moves forward, he would like to see the creation of historical markers.
Many residents of Millbrook may not realize that the history of the area dates back to the early 1800s. Bolling Hall settled here, and constructed Ellerslie Plantation off Edgewood Road in 1818 which still stands today, and remains in family hands.
A railroad system once came through what is now Millbrook’s downtown area. Many years ago, the downtown area of Millbrook also served as a bus stop.
Work should be beginning soon for a modern Senior Center for older residents, moving from its current location at the Memorial Center to a new building on Grandview Road across from the Millbrook Fire Department. That land was purchased by the City a couple of years ago.
Downtown Strategies will be reaching out to area businesses in downtown and other stakeholders to see what they feel the immediate needs are to draw more people to downtown. At a recent meeting, officials said there are several things that could be done immediately, at no cost. We will have more on that in future articles.
Below is the resolution approved Monday night in its entirety:
AUTHORIZING MAYOR TO APPLY FOR
RECREATIONAL TRAILS PROGRAM FY 2021 FUNDING CYCLE
FOR CONSTRUCTION OF MILL CREEK RECREATIONAL TRAIL – PHASE 1
WHEREAS, the City of Millbrook is eligible to submit an application for funding assistance made available under the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) FY 2021 Funding Cycle administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA); and,
WHEREAS, the City of Millbrook has determined that there is, subsequent to the on-going stress endured by our population due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant and timely need for a non-motorized, diverse-use trail and access to open spaces which would offer major health benefits to our citizens, build community spirit, increase local property values, and have a substantial impact on economic development; and,
WHEREAS, this project, located contiguous to Main Street (a focal point for our City) will increase recreational opportunities while it persists in beautifying the area and encouraging tourism to downtown Millbrook.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Millbrook, Alabama as follows:
SECTION 1. That the Millbrook City Council submits a Recreational Trails Program FY 2021 Funding Cycle application to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs for funding assistance in the amount of $235,398.00 for the purpose of construction of Mill Creek Recreational Trail – Phase 1.
SECTION 2. That the City Council of the City of Millbrook, Alabama strongly supports this application and the benefits to be derived there from, and the Council commits a minimum of 20% cash and/or in-kind match of $58,850.00 or the amount necessary to make the project whole.
SECTION 3. That Al Kelley, in his capacity as Mayor, is hereby authorized and directed to submit said application on behalf of the City of Millbrook, execute all required application documents on behalf of the City, and take such other actions as may be required to implement the project should it be funded.
PASSED, ADOPTED AND APPROVED this 1st day of March, 2021.