TALLADEGA -- The Talladega City Council heard a presentation Monday night from Alabama Hiking Trail Society President Jeff Haynes about a possible economic opportunity.
Hayes said he lives in Talladega and operates a hostel on North Street for backpackers.
According to Hayes, there is talk of extending the southern end of the Appalachian Trail from north Georgia to Flagg Mountain in Weogufka. According to him, 15,000 to 20,000 people hike the Appalachian Trail every year. Those starting from the south end would reach Porters Gap Trailhead in Talladega County, then turn one way to go to Ashland and another to go to Talladega. The city should be prepared for the influx that will likely come if the trail is extended, Hayes said.
He emphasized, however, that the extension is not a done deal yet and encouraged the council to get involved in the effort backing it.
He asked that the council send a representative to the AHT Annual Conference on March 31 at Cheaha State Park and even offered to pay for the ticket. However, he was told that accepting would constitute an ethics violation.
The speaker at the conference will be Jennifer Pharr Davis, an author, speaker, hiker and businesswoman who has hiked the full length of Appalachian Trail three times and holds the record of 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes.
Also Monday, the council:
Contributed $1,000 to the Talladega High School marching band for a trip to Orlando, Florida;
Donated $1,000 to the Talladega Junior Welfare League;
Announced that the next electronics recycling day will be Friday, March 16, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Piggly Wiggly Parking lot on West Battle Street;
Heard a presentation from the Rev. Phoebe Presson, senior pastor of Jacob’s Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, regarding a children, youth and young adult Spring Fest Community Outreach on May 26 at the West Gate/Mabra Center Park. The council agreed to waive the vendor fee for the event only. Presson also announced the church had received a grant through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide regular counseling to diabetics;
Approved property liens for junked car abatements;
Approved city participation in the Alabama Department of Education’s Summer Food Program;
Approved a contract with InSite Engineering for leak detection services in the water system not to exceed $35,325. This project was also approved as part of the capital improvement plan in January. The engineering contract passed unanimously Monday night with no discussion;
Heard City Manager Patrick Bryant announce that he would be taping a segment for ABC 33/40 as part of a panel in the discussion “Small Town Rising.” The taping will be Thursday, but it was not clear when the program would air. The invitation “recognizes the tremendous progress Talladega has made” due to the work of the council and the city staff. Council President David Street and Councilman Dr. Horace Patterson commended Bryant for his continued representation of the city; and
Heard Patterson suggest putting a gate in near the restrooms at the Mabra Center to discourage loitering.