VALDOSTA – Valdosta City Council approved a contractor for an improvement project for South Fry Street last week.

Southland Contractors is taking on the project for $529,286 with a 10% contingency of $52,928.60 for “unforeseen circumstances.”

South Fry Street, which is located between Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and North Forrest Street, has ditches, a grassed shoulder and is heavily walked on by nearby residents.

With no curb, gutter or sidewalk, City Engineer Patrick Collins said the city wants to improve safety in the area by constructing 1,500 linear feet of sidewalk, curb and gutter.

The project will include the piping of the ditches, new retaining walls, curb inlets and yard drain inlets installed where necessary. New sod, concrete driveway aprons and asphalt paving will be added to finalize the project.

The finished process should complete a gap in a sidewalk network connecting Fry Street to East Hill Avenue, Old Lake Park Road, Ulmer Avenue, Griffin Avenue, South Patterson Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

Mayor Scott James Matheson, District 2 Councilwoman Sandra Tooley and District 3 Councilman Sonny Vickers were not in attendance but remaining council members unanimously approved the bid.

The Valdosta Fire Department and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency renewed a mutual aid assistance agreement involving the latter’s Georgia Search and Rescue Team.

The agreement assures mutual assistance between both parties in case of a natural or manmade disaster/emergency.

Burke Batten of Arising Industries requested to rezone 2.63 acres of residential-professional zoned property to highway commercial zoning.

This property is located at 4955 Inner Perimeter Road.

Batten said he and his family are proposing the property be used as a storage space/distribution for portable storage units. He will need to apply for a conditional use permit because of this

City Council unanimously approved his request.

George Boston Rhynes spoke during the citizens to be heard section of the meeting, speaking on behalf of the people on the 1000 block of Cypress Street Southeast.

He said the area has a consistent issue with cars backing into a ditch on the side of the road and needs the pavement to be redone.

Pearl Chapel told council she’s upset about the change to Forrest Street’s name, believes it was done unethically and that it was a “political” move.

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