Lodging tax hike to help city improve West Lagoon Avenue
By John Mullen
Public Works Director Mark Acreman says its been a goal of Gulf Shores to make considerable improvements to West Lagoon Avenue, a road that branches off of State Route 182 just west of the Pier 33 Grocery.
“Unfortunately, we’ve just never had the capital funding to be able to undertake a project of this size as it relates to transportation as it would have utilized our entire multiple years’ worth of resurfacing money,” Acreman said.
But the approximately $1.5 million project has finally been set in motion with the city council’s approval April 22 of about $130,000 to Fabre Engineering & Surveying to provide surveying, design and inspection services for massive upgrades to road. All thanks to the 2 percent added to the city lodging tax and earmarked for transportation improvements.
“This is an over two-mile roadway and something we’ve had a lot of interest in over years from the citizens to undertake,” Acreman said. “Because of the 2 percent lodging tax, which will be the funding source, we are able to undertake this project.”
The roadway there is now pretty narrow but the city has a 100-foot right of way to widen it and provide five-foot bike lanes as well as an eight-foot multi-use trail on the south side of West Lagoon Avenue.
“This will be improving West Lagoon Avenue and connecting those improvements to our recently completed Little Lagoon parking lot, pier and multi-use trail including resurfacing the entire West Lagoon roadway,” Acreman said.
As part of Faber’s project, the company will see if a roundabout at the intersection of State Route 182 and West Lagoon Avenue would help traffic in that area.
“This would be something to kind of slow down the traffic and make the transition from a five-lane highway to a two-lane beach road as well as bring West Lagoon Avenue into that intersection,” Acreman said. “It’s a little cumbersome today. We’ve improved it with our sidewalk work but it still could be improved further.”
Nearby utilities and the possibility of having to move them may be detriments to having a roundabout at the intersection.
“We’re going to see if taking on this type of project is feasible and if we can do it because of utility conflicts, costs and the ability of the DOT to allow this work to move forward,” Acreman said. “It’s a very unique situation. I can’t think of another location in the city where we have two roads coming together at this angle.”
In other business, the council also:
• Accepted proposal from Week’s Bay Foundation for the creation of two distinct conservation easements on the Leary and Erie Hall Meyer properties acquired by the City in 2017 as part of the NFWF-funded Bon Secour/Oyster Bay Wetland Acquisition Project. The total cost for this work is $74,950 and will be 100 percent reimbursed through the NFWF Grant.
• Received a copy of the Gulf Shores Police Department’s annual report from Chief Ed Delmore. The report is also available on the city’s website.
• Granted a franchise license to the new owners of Modern Limousine which plans to operate one vehicle with one driver.
• Accepted the annexation of three properties on County Road 6 who are interested in being a part of the city because of the formation of the city school system, city documents said. The parcels are at 16800 Nelson Lane owned by James and Mary Nelson, 4518 County Road 6 owned by Nelson Holdings and 4211 Alton Street listed as being owned by Rebecca Semone.