Higgins Ferry swimming area could remain open

Published 11:26 pm Monday, April 27, 2009

The swimming area at Higgins Ferry Park could remain open if the county can provide more enforcement.

Alabama Power originally wanted to either close the swimming area or move it near the pavilion to allow for the construction of a new pier. The county might be allowed to keep it open, however, if Chilton County Sheriff’s Deputies can start issuing tickets to park visitors who are parked illegally.

“I asked Alabama Power, ‘What would it take to keep [the swimming area] where it is?’” Park Ranger Frank Atkinson told the Chilton County Commission Monday night.

The answer Atkinson received was increased enforcement of regulations, both in the water and in the parking area.

The main concern stems from swimmers swimming in the path of boats. Another concern is in the parking area, where some motorists have either blocked boaters in or parked in areas marked with “no parking” signs.

Sheriff Kevin Davis, also in attendance at the meeting, said he had no problem writing tickets but that it should be the commission’s decision. Therefore, a resolution would have to be approved so the regulations could be enforced properly.

“You make the laws; I enforce the laws,” Davis told the commission.

Atkinson said Alabama Power would provide law enforcement in the water in the form of Marine Police.

Commissioner Bobby Agee suggested that if the swimming area should remain open, officers issuing tickets could start by issuing warning tickets.

Commissioners seemed to have no problem with continuing to allow swimming.

“I want to keep the swimming area, however they do it,” Joe Headley said.

“I want it left like it is,” Heedy Hayes added.

County Attorney John Hollis Jackson indicated he would begin drafting a resolution for the commission’s consideration.