First reading heard for ‘smoke-free Fulton’ ordinance

by Benita Fuzzell

South Fulton resident Don Livingston, accompanied by his wife, Joan Livingston, as visitors to the Fulton City Commission meeting Nov. 26, addressed the officials regarding their recent discussion of the possible sale of the property now occupied by the Fulton County Senior Citizens center on Commercial Avenue.

“Joan and I lived in Fulton for a long time and now we live in South Fulton. We are members of the Fulton Senior Citizens Center, which appears to be about to go belly up. We are concerned about where were are going to there any possible building or structure big enough to take care of all of us?” he asked.

Livingston was referring to the Nov. 12 city commission meeting, where Jeff Campbell, owner of The Meadows Hotel made a proposal to the commission regarding his desire to purchase the structures adjacent to his place of business on Commercial Avenue, now owned by the city and currently serving as the Senior Citizens Center, one of two in Fulton County. The other senior citizens facility is located in Hickman.

“The Housing Authority has offered a place,” said Mayor David Prater, adding that he understood the place offered, which is the North College Street Community Center, is smaller than the senior center’s current location.

“I can assure you, though, we will not throw the seniors out in the street,” he said.

City Manager Mike Gunn told Livingston that the North College Street community center would be offered as the senior center, at no cost, no rent, no utilities. He said he and Code Enforcement Officer Nathan Lamb had visited the center last week and taken measurements, with room found to accommodate 25 visitors at the center there on North College for eating, as well as room for exercise equipment and a pool table.

“It would be tight, but it could all fit,” Gunn said.

Gunn said he had looked at the upper stories of the buildings now occupied by the senior center and discovered 55 gallon drums now collecting rain water from leaking roofs, which could cost from $30,000-$50,000 to repair.

Both Gunn and Prater agreed neither the city, nor the senior citizen center was in a financial position to shoulder such an expense at this time, and if the property could be sold, it could be returned to the tax rolls.

“I don’t like the situation you (senior citizens) are in, and the last thing I want is for you all not to have a place to meet. I am not sure the situation with Mr. Campbell will work out,” Mayor Prater said, informing Livingston when he asked, that Campbell had plans to possibly expand his business to include more rooms, a banquet hall and kitchen facility.

Mayor Prater, Commissioners Elaine Forrester, Martha Vowell, Jeff Vaughn and Darcy Linn did authorize Gunn to proceed with securing a title search of the Commercial Avenue property, with Gunn stating he had already done some research on the property and chain of title, consulting with the state as to whether or not any requirements of limitations had been placed on the property regarding future sales, on the deed.

The first reading was heard of an ordinance Restricting and Prohibiting certain use of Tobacco Products in Buildings open to the Public and other Public Areas. Ordinance 2018-16 addresses the consequences of violations to the ordinance, as well as the method by which it will be policed, who will be responsible for the enforcement and the inclusion of electronic and vaping type cigarettes in the prohibition. The ordinance requires a second reading and publication for adoption.

Commissioner Forrester asked if the city had any information regarding work underway at the railroad yard. Gunn and Prater both noted they had only heard rumors but no official word as to what specific work in being conducted at the sight.

“We continue to appreciate their investment in our community,” Mayor Prater said, adding the city is interested in any progress made which will have an impact on the local economy, and the city would welcome the opportunity to have more information about the work underway.

Fulton Police Chief Terry Powell reported FPD Officer Natalie Adams will complete training Friday.

Public Works Assistant Director John Gallimore reported the downtown Lake Street and Pontotoc Park area of Fulton are “about 80% complete” with Christmas lighting and decorations, with plans to complete the areas this week.

Mayor Prater reminded the commissioners that the Fulton Tourism Commission will sponsor Supper with Santa at Pontotoc Park this Saturday, coordinated by the T.C.M.O. with a chili supper, as well as vendors in the Willingham Center and a Story Walk for children. Children may visit with Santa from 5-7 p.m., with the chili supper and Story Walk held at the same time. Vendors will have their displays set up from 1-7 p.m. at the Willingham Center.