BRANFORD — Two roads in Branford will be paved thanks to SCOP grant funding from the Florida Department of Transportation.
Tori Humphries and Jimmy Pittman with North Florida Professional Services delivered the good news to the Branford Town Council at its monthly meeting last week.
“It really is a big deal to get two of these projects,” Pittman told the council Aug. 13. “There were a lot of folks coveting one for themselves.” Pittman said there were 30 projects submitted for FDOT District 2 with eight being awarded funding and Branford received two of those.
The two projects, which will pave about a half mile of Wideman Street and a quarter of a mile of Carter Avenue, will cost approximately $800,000 total. Pittman added that was about 40 percent of the total funding awarded within the district.
“So good for Branford,” he said.
Council President Ken Saunders said it was shocking to see the news when the town received word from FDOT.
“I couldn’t believe we got two,” he said.
Pittman said he expected the projects to go out for bid next spring and take approximately four months to complete.
The council also accepted Randy Herndon’s resignation letter at the meeting. Herndon, who was elected to the council in 2017, resigned Aug. 1 after he and his wife, Barbara, sold their house and moved to North Carolina.
“He will certainly be missed,” Saunders said, adding that in addition to serving on the council Herndon was very involved in other community efforts such as the Rotary Club of Branford.
The council decided to table any discussion of appointing someone to fill Herndon’s post until after the end of the budget process.
Saunders said he would then like to hold a workshop on the topic and move forward from there.
New webmaster, attorney
While it officially lost a council member in the meeting, the town also gained a new town attorney and a new webmaster for the town’s website.
Kevin Daly, who has served as the town attorney for 28 years, is retiring later this year and the town interviewed Johnathan Turner from Scruggs & Carmichael at a workshop to potentially replace Daly.
The council unanimously approved hiring him, effective Oct. 1, with Charlie Daniel noting that he “comes well recommended, which means something to me.”
Daly recommended Turner to the council.
Turner told the council in the workshop that he would accept a contract on the same terms as Daly — $75 per hour with a $500 monthly retainer to attend the town’s meetings.
Council member Matt Burns said he begrudgingly seconded the nomination to hire Turner, but only because he didn’t want to lose Daly.
“We sure think a lot of Kevin,” Burns said.
Saunders added: “Kevin has been like part of the family.”
Also in the workshop, the council received a presentation from Nathan Thornton about updating the town’s website. The council approved at the meeting hiring Thornton to do that with Saunders noting the cost will be roughly the same as the current cost.
“We definitely need something newer than we’ve got,” Mayor Mickey Dempsey said about the town’s website. “It’s kind of a disgrace really to look at our website and then look at a really nice website.”
Storywalk coming to Greenway
Donna Koon from the Branford Public Library and Trannie Lacquey from the Branford Rotary requested permission to add a storywalk to the Greenway next month.
The storywalk would consist of 15 posts around the Greenway with pages of a children’s book to read at each post.
“The purpose is to walk together and enjoy the benefits of a wonderful children’s book and enjoy the beautiful Greenway,” Koon said, adding the book would be “Corduroy.”
The council approved the request, pending Suwannee Parks and Recreation Director Greg Scott signing off on it as well.
Koon said it would be a temporary addition but they were hoping to host an opening celebration Sept. 28 from 9-11 a.m. with games, door prizes and refreshments
September is National Library Month as well as literacy month with Rotary.
“I love literacy,” Lacquey said.