By John Mullen
The City of Gulf Shores has winnowed the list of applicants for the new Gulf Shores School Board from 34 to 20 and will present the final five members at a council meeting on Nov. 27, Mayor Robert Craft said.
“We’ve just finished 20 interviews of some of the most capable people,” he said. “We never have dreamed we had that degree of talent that was willing to volunteer their time in this community for nothing. They don’t get a fee for this, just for love of the community, love of the community.
“We will do this with names on Monday.”
Also Monday’s Gulf Shores council work session the city announced it is seeking to acquire a Transportation Alternatives Program grant to build an additional 6,600 feet of sidewalks in the Gulf Beach Walking District.
Gulf Shores is seeking $640,000 from the Alabama Department of Transportation for the project and would have to put up a $160,000 match. The new walkways, if the grant is approved, would be along East First Avenue, East Second Avenue, East First Street, East Second Street and West First Avenue.
In recent years the city used TAP grants to build sidewalks on Alabama 59 from the beach to the Intracoastal Waterway bridge and TAP grants were used to help fund the current sidewalk project on Alabama 182.
In other city news, citizens and visitors should prepare for a holiday about-face this year at the Gulf Shores Christmas Parade.
Also during the Nov. 14 meeting, the council heard a report on the Shrimp Festival from Chairman Spencer Cade and honored the Original Oyster House for winning a statewide Retailer of the Year award.
New Christmas Parade Route
Because of construction on the Gulf Place Revitalization Project at the public beach, the end-of-parade celebration will change locations. The city council approved an assembly permit for the annual parade for Dec. 1 during the Nov. 14 regular session.
“Due to the construction that’s going on in Gulf Place and the end of Highway 59 near the beach, we are proposing that we reverse the route of the parade this year,” Recreation and Cultural Affairs Director Grant Brown said. “We would actually stage the parade at the beach along Highway 182 and parade from the beach north. We turn into the part of town we are in now and end at Sims Park.”
At Sims Park, the same merriment from the previous few years will be available.
“At the end of the parade there is a fun event for the children, Christmas cards with Santa, making ornaments, hot chocolate, cookies and a snowball drop for prizes,” Brown said. “It’s been a fun a fun community event over the last few years. We don’t want to take away any of that momentum so we feel like bringing it to the park this year is a good alternative since we don’t have the use of the beachfront area this year.”
Festival Chairman Spencer Cade stopped by to thank the city for its help in putting on the 46th annual event just a week after the area was threatened by Hurricane Nate.
“It takes over 600 volunteers to make this thing happen but it also takes the participation from the great city we live in and especially with Hurricane Nate coming in the week before,” Cade said, “We had the team from public works department getting on things and getting the place cleaned up and organized and ready for us to set up the festival.”
Cade and Coastal Alabama Business Chamber staff presented the city with a framed copy of the poster for this year’s festival.