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Higgins Ferry Park to get new parking lot for swimmers

More parking will be available soon for swimmers at Higgins Ferry Park. That announcement was made Monday during the Chilton County Commission meeting.

With above-average temperatures and no signs of any relief from the scorching weather, many people are trekking to the river to beat the heat.

“Two weeks ago, there were 150 swimmers at one time,” said Commissioner Red Turnipseed. “With all the fishermen and swimmers, there are not enough (parking spots). It will be strictly for swimmers only.”

Frank Atkinson, park ranger/manager, met with Alabama Power (who is funding the project) on Monday, and the construction of a 10-car parking lot will begin Wednesday. The lot will be located above the existing boat launch.

“Hopefully it will alleviate parking by the swimming area,” said Atkinson. “This year, we’ve had twice as many swimmers, so we’ve had twice as many cars. This will be no charge to the county because it’s part of Alabama Power’s contract. They have the licensing for the rivers, and they knew it would help the park.”

Turnipseed also mentioned that work on the park’s bathhouses and bathroom facility will need to be performed soon.

In other business, air conditioners located on the Chilton County Courthouse are corroding and need to be cleaned. Pete Davenport, county maintenance supervisor, received an estimate of $5,759 from a company he contacted about the needed work.

The commission voted 5-1 to bid out the project to try to find a lower price. Allen Caton abstained for voting because of a conflict on interest.

Also, CAWACO (Cahaba, Warrior and Coosa Rivers) received a $9,000 grant for storm related items. The money will be used for repair and maintenance on the weather sirens, according to Caton.

Finally, Bart Shaw and Monique Hahn, representatives from Shaw Hankins Insurance, and Jim Wolbrecht, a representative from Affordable Benefit Solutions, presented insurance proposals for the commission to consider. Both companies will speak with administrator Vanessa Hendrick, who handles this for the county.