About 20 citizens came to the Alma City Council meeting last week asking that the city consider allowing the placement of a Confederate monument in its Memorial Park.
This is the second time a group from the Sons of Confederate Veterans has asked the city to consider such a proposal. Several years ago, the council turned down the request.
“We’ve brought you a revamped proposal for a monument that would include the names of the 100 Bacon Countians buried here who served [in the Confederate army],” said Bill Bowers, of the Grays Camp of the SCV in Appling County.
“Thirty or so of them never made it back. We’d like to place something here to honor the veterans and their descendants.”
The proposed monument would consist of three carved slabs of Georgia granite placed within a circular walkway located west of the current Veterans Memorial. The group’s original proposal would have located the monument closer to the existing memorial and was to include a statue of Augustus O. Bacon, the county’s namesake and a Georgia Senator and Confederate veteran.
“There’s nothing but grass in the area we’re proposing to use,” Bowers noted.
An Alma member of the SCV also spoke in favor of the proposed memorial.
“I’d like to have my family veterans memorialized,” said Charles McCrea. “My dad fought for our right to do this. If it’s a memorial park, then all our veterans should be included.”
Last Monday evening, Alma City Manager Al Crace referred the group to the city’s Veterans Committee, noting they should review any plans for Memorial Park before they are brought to the city council.
“We went to them,” Bowers said. “They referred us to the city.”
Bacon County Commissioner Lee Hagans and a member of the Veterans Committee, said the group would be willing to look at the proposal.
“At the time of the original proposal several years ago, the committee thought the proposal was not appropriate for our community,” he said. “Now, they have a different proposal and we’ll look at it.”
“We’ve been discussing some other projects for the park. It is city property. We’ll look at this proposal and come back to the city council with our thoughts.”
Another citizen came before the council to ask for the city’s cooperation in curbing a problem with bed bugs in the city.
“I’m concerned,” said John Rothanzl, who explained the pests recently appeared in rental property he owns in the city. “I don’t want my property to have this. We need to get this thing taken care of. The city should help if there is anything they can do. We don’t want other cities talking about us.”
Alma Mayor Peggy Murphy, who also serves on the community board of health, agreed to bring the matter up at that board’s next meeting. The city manager also referred Rothanzl to the Alma Housing Authority, which has “an aggressive program” to eradicate the pests.
In other business, the council awarded an $80,000 contract to East Coast Asphalt for their Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant projects. The state will pay $62,000 towards the project with the city contributing the balance from 2012 SPLOST funds.
Also during the meeting, the council: accepted a quit claim deed from the Bacon County Development Authority for the Valene Bennett Industrial Parks’s roads and infrastructure; approved a change in ownership alcohol license for The Easy; learned Georgia Power will upgrade all street lighting in the city with LED lights in 2018; learned the state EPD has extended the city’s water system operating permit for 10 years; noted city Animal Control Officer Lance Lovelace has completed the first phase of his training; and noted the DOT has agreed to designate Dixon Street as a local street, and has agreed to install a left turn signal on U.S. 1 at Radio Station Road.