CHIPLEY — Resident Holland Kent presented the idea of building a clock tower on the site where the historic Chipley water tower once stood to the city council on Tuesday.
“I understand there are plans to put a park at the site where the water tower once stood,” Kent said. “The water tower was seen as a landmark for Chipley, and I think what replaces it needs to be a landmark as well.”
Kent presented the council with photos of clock towers, including the Cairo, Ga., town clock bell, as a potential landmark for the proposed park.
Councilman Kevin Russell was appointed by Mayor Linda Cain to head up a committee charged with developing a park on the site where the city’s water tower once stood. The tower was taken down due to safety concerns on May 21.
“Years back, Louis Valencia worked hard with the city to place a clock at the corner of 77 and Railroad,” Kent said. “I think we should consider the same concept on a larger scale.”
He said cost of the Cairo clock tower was about $100,000. He also submitted photos of the Westfield, Mass., clock tower which cost about $500,000, as an example.
“This is great,” Russell said. “This is what I want, I definitely want input from the residents. We don’t want this to just be a committee of five people deciding what goes in the park.”
Russell said he would be in touch with Kent when the park committee next met so he could discuss the clock tower idea with the full committee.
“I also would like to see us put a flag there, like the one down by the interstate,” the mayor said.
Holland said there were grants available to fund a clock tower, adding that of the $500,000 spent for the Massachusetts clock tower, 80 percent of the project was funded by the federal government, and 20 percent was funded by the state.
In other business, the council tabled private property standards ordinance until the next workshop.
The council discussed the need for an ordinance at the workshop on June 6 to allow the city to clean up overgrown lots. The workshop discussion also included whether or not artificial flowers should be displayed in a lawn.
“The real intent is to have an ordinance so we can clean up some of the overgrown lots,” City Administrator Dan Miner said. Ultimately, for properties that have been abandoned, it often falls to the city to clean up the property, and the ordinance would allow the city to recoup the expense of the cleanup.
The council also tabled discussion of a solicitation ordinance, which is being considered in response to the Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee were in Chipley on April 8 in front of the Post Office, calling for the impeachment of President Barack Obama, the passage HR 129, and selling memberships to the PAC.
The ordinance would require that groups collecting money be registered with the state and following state ordinances.
“This ordinance makes it a violation of city law if a group violates the state requirements,” City Attorney Michelle Taggart said on June 6.
“If they come back talking about the President can we run them out of here?” the mayor asked.
“Not necessarily,” Taggart said.
“What this will do is make our code match what the state ordinance says,” Miner said.
The council also approved on Tuesday the purchase a 5.25 acre parcel of industrial park property back from Chipola Timber Harvesting Inc. for the price of $23,500.
Miner said the purchase price was “an excellent deal” for the city.
“Lots of cities are wanting to bring businesses in, but they don’t have any where to put them,” Miner said on June 6. “We have the funds to buy it, and it is better to have it and have the potential to sell it to somebody.”