Lowndesboro council meets at Marengo, discusses speeding, insurance issues

Published 2:43 pm Thursday, March 10, 2011

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

Meeting for the first time in the historic Marengo house, the lack of a quorum did not stop the Lowndesboro Town Council and citizens from discussing issues such as speeding and lowering fire insurance rates.

There was also discussion by a citizen who wants to make the old store an attraction for the town.

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Mayor Rick Pate, Council members Dennis Blair and James Adams were present along with Town Clerk Denae Lowe. Council members Bruce Sharp and Jerry Ingram were absent. Pate said it was the first meeting in the house (basement area) and the first time in about five years that the council did not have a quorum.

Pate said the town has formed a partnership with the Lowndesboro Landmark Foundation to restore the Marengo house, which was built in 1837 and moved to Lowndesboro in 1847.

Blair said the town had allocated $50,000 for renovation but it appears the total will come under that. He said the town received the house as donated property, fixed it up for a town hall and pays the Landmark Foundation $4,000 a year to manage the property. They will host wedding receptions, etc, he said.

Daniel Brooks, a citizen, raised the issue of speeding in town. He said he was almost killed by a speeding driver. While the town has a speed limit of 35 miles per hour, he said, “People treat Broad Street like a racetrack.” He suggested fines might be increased.

Pate said that “structural” remedies might be pursued such as speed bumps. And Adams suggested a reflective stripe on the sidewalk side of the street.

Blair volunteered to “act as the public safety person on the council to look into this.”

He said a man was once stopped in front of the post office who had sped through town at a reported speed of 76 miles per hour. “That’s the kind of problem we have.”

Lowndes County Sheriff John Williams said the sheriff’s department helps as much as it can when a deputy is available.

Pate noted efforts to reduce the fire insurance rates for the town such as handling paperwork for fire department.

He said the town “does not want to run the fire department, just wants to help them.” Blair said the town wants to help Fire Chief Keith Hudson recruit more members.

He said the current Insurance Office Rating is 10. He said the best the town could hope for was an eight.

The Signal was unable to contact Hudson.

Reg Dryer, who owns the “old store,” said he would like to make it  “an attraction to the town rather than an empty building doing whatever.”

He mentioned the possibility of an oyster bar. “Just trying to put a little life in a corner of town that is a center of town.”