Residents discuss progress, unveil monument
SIPSEY -- More than 50 residents of Sipsey attended a town meeting on Saturday to discuss the recovery of the town and the path toward future progress.
Steve Ostaseski, principal planner for the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham, discussed a series of plans with the gathered citizens. Those plans include asking for their help in identifying dilapidated structures that need to be removed to improve the city.
He said that within the next month, the city should begin examining structures to see if they meet the standard and identifying those that need to be torn down. Overall, he said the plan would probably take two to three years and would require the consistent support and input of the residents.
"The desire to fix it has to come from within the community,"?Ostaseski said. "If they help us identify the structures, it will help with their grant applications."
Discussion about the city's planned storm shelter turned heated as residents questioned the chosen location of the shelter, near the town's fire debarment. The city received a grant approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help pay for the shelter, but the city had to provide a percentage of matching funds, which could include the donation of the land.
Some residents expressed concern that the location was not in the center of town, making it difficult for some residents to reach the shelter in the event of severe weather. Organizers say they would like to explore putting in a second shelter, closer to the other side of town, but finances are tight and the grant program is currently closed.
Ostaseski said that he had received great community output at the original meeting and that he also felt good about the opinions and output the residents provided at this meeting.
"It's going to require patience, " Ostaseski said. "These things don't happen overnight. We have a great asset with the river so we might as well exploit it."
In addition to plans for the river, he also said that he believed the town should host a Sipsey Festival each year to promote community involvement and interest.
After the meeting, many of the attendees walked over to town hall for the unveiling and dedication of the newest monument. This monument honors more than 80 of the townspeople who have served in one of the five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. Sanders said that some names were inadvertently left off and will be included on an additional piece that will be added to the monument, much like the city did with their miners memorial.
Via Daily Mountain Eagle click here for story.