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Jacksonville approves trail project

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The Jacksonville City Council voted Monday evening to contribute public funds toward the construction of two additional recreational trails in the city.

The project would add trails that run through George Douthit Drive Southwest and James Hopkins Road Southwest, the council heard during a meeting that was closed to the public due to COVID-19, but was streamed live online.

A representative from the East Alabama Regional Planning Commission who spoke at a public hearing during the meeting said a trail would be built from an existing suburb to George Douthit Drive Southwest, and it would be extended from there to 2nd Avenue. 

A trail would also be connected from James Hopkins Road Southwest to Legacy Village, he said.

According to the representative, the project will cost about $326,000, with the city contributing about $65,000.

Following a public hearing at which no one spoke, the council approved a retail on-premise and lounge liquor license application from Jacksonville Entertainment Inc., which owns Brothers Bar on Pelham Road South.

The council also promoted firefighters Nathaniel Carl Hairrell and Justin Garrett Minton to assistant fire chief positions.

“Thank both of you, for not only what you’re about to do, but for what you’ve done in the past,” Mayor Johnny Smith said to Hairrell and Minton. “We’re really looking forward to continuing to work with you.”

The council also recognized police chief Marcus Wood, who earned an award from the Alabama Association of Chiefs of Police, but was unable to receive it in person, for completing 80 hours of training.

They also hired a police officer and accepted the resignation of a firefighter.

Council members agreed that meetings would be open to the public again, beginning March 8, before ending the meeting and going into executive session to discuss “considering the sale, exchange, lease or market value of real property.”

Contact Staff Writer Mia Kortright at 256-235-3563 or