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Information contained here does NOT represent an official communication from the City of Mobile or any member of the City Council and should not be considered a thorough or definitive summary of meeting procedures.
The purpose is to provide clarity, context or commentary on selected issues of social and cultural significance to the citizens of Mobile, in a format that is condensed, focused and accessible.
Celebrating The Acceptance Of The USS Mobile
(LCS 26) Into The US Navy
The act of placing a ship in commission marks her entry into active Navy service. At the moment, when the commissioning pennant is broken at the masthead, a ship becomes a Navy command in her own right, and takes her place alongside the other active ships of the fleet. This ceremony continues a tradition some three centuries old, observed by navies around the world and by our own Navy since December 1775.
Once in commission, the commanding officer and crew are entrusted with the privilege and responsibility of maintaining their ship’s readiness in peace, and of conducting successful operations at sea in time of war.
Remarks from the Mayor
— On Monday, May 11, 2021, Mayor Stimpson addressed trash pickup delays, citing challenges with maintaining older equipment . The city’s website, he noted, would be kept current with scheduled pickup day updates. To assist those who need to move trash immediately, the city has located dumpsters at four park sites: Medal of Honor Park, Seals Park, Tremmier Park and Langan Park. These sites are accepting yard “trash” only, which must be previously bagged. He also cited the success of the 3 Mile Creek Watershed Cleanup and thanked those who turned out.
— As detailed at the May 4th meeting, the mayor reminded citizens that the USS Mobile, built by Austal USA, will be commissioned for the U.S. Navy this weekend. The ceremonies will open with a parade downtown on Friday, May 21, 2021, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with a fireworks display to follow. The route, he said, would be published soon. On Saturday, the commissioning ceremony will be a ticketed event but all are welcome join the celebration at Cooper Riverside Park where a jumbo screen will broadcast events. *
— In honor of “Salvation Army Week,” Stimpson recognized the outstanding contributions and encouraged public support for Mobile’s Salvation Army.
— Casi Callaway was introduced as a new member of the mayor’s Administrative Team with the title, “Chief Resilience Officer.”
— Finally, Mayor Stimpson announced the arrival of the Carnival “Sensation” ship which docked at the Port of Mobile on Friday, May 14th. Carnival’s decision to send the “Sensation” to Mobile to have crew members receive COVID vaccinations from USA Health volunteers is a good sign that cruises will soon return to Mobile. “This is the first major step to getting the cruises back. We don’t have a date for when the first cruises will be but we are doing everything we can do the help facilitate that.”
Councilman C.J. Small asked for Casi Calloway to address the council about her vision. Acknowledging that she is still in transition and learning more about the functioning of the administration, she recognized that litter is a top priority and addressing this problem would be one of her first steps.
She described her goal to put in place streamlined and efficient practices to address the needs of the community for prevention and recovery in times of disaster.
Councilman Small asked who she would be working under and more specifics on how litter problems would be addressed. Her function will be, she said, to bring together much of the work that has already been done, noting that 8 city non-profit organizations already have work plans in place, to coordinate and expand these efforts.
Small cited his concern that penalties and enforcement need be strict enough to create real change and she agreed.
He then asked for further clarification as to what department she was employed under. She described that she is working under what is now being called the “Strategic Initiative Team,” formerly the “I" Team, and working “for the mayor, across all departments.”
“The Strategic Initiatives Team,” she explained, is located on the 5th floor of Government Plaza but her office is on the 2nd floor. **
May 11, 2021
Past U.S. Naval Ships
Named for the City of Mobile
CITY ASSISTANCE in MIDTOWN
Fred Richardson requested assistance for the Callaghan family who owns a home at Upham and Old Shell where numerous cars have either crashed or driven through their property. After placing a request with ALDOT to have a barrier constructed, ALDOT deferred to the City for this. The City offered only signage, which did not help. In the meantime, the Callaghan family built their own metal fence which has since been again destroyed. They offered to pay for a stronger barricade but were told that they could not build on city property. Richardson asked that the city step in to protect the property.
AFRICA TOWN RESEARCH and DOCUMENTARY
Following the mayor’s announcement that a design and construction team has been selected and will soon begin work on the Africa Town Welcome Center, David Clark with Visit Mobile addressed the Council about their efforts to promote the Africa Town historical site.
Clark recognized the outstanding work of ARIAN MORRISON , a history student at Harvard who worked as an intern this past semester, involved in researching the Africa Town story for a film documentary. Morrison thanked Visit Mobile and others for their support and for the resources made available to her. In a well-spoken address to the Council, she emphasized her own “commitment to the truth,” the need to present the history of this site from as many perspectives as possible by pulling together the work of historians with the voices of the community itself acting as primary story-tellers, in order to present the most authentic interpretation possible.
Councilman Small spoke for the entire Council stressing their commitment to making Africa Town a destination on par with other venues in the state which are also dedicated to historic preservation and education, such as the National Lynching Museum, which opened recently in Montgomery. Council President Manzie noted the development of Africa Town was one of his chief objectives when he first ran for office, expressing his thankfulness for the new energy that has been generated, his firm belief in the site’s national significance and his personal dedication to its success. Councilman Richardson shared his own family’s connection to the Africa town descendants and his vision that the museum should seek to recreate the harsh realities of slavery and the amazing struggles endured at the original settlement . “Give the people something they can see and feel,” he said.
REQUEST for ASSISTANCE in CRICHTON
Requesting assistance on this issue for the third time, Janice Robinson again asked that the city take some action to slow down the traffic on Josephine Street in the Crichton area. After being sent from one office to another, she had eventually been told at the traffic division that Josephine Street was designated for emergency vehicles because it leads directly to Bay Shore Ave. and this prevents the city from installing any structural speeding impediments. Yet she has lived there over 40 years and believes something should be done for the safety of her neighbors, many of whom are elderly residents and do not feel safe crossing the street. She added that the asphalt has also not been properly maintained and debris is not regularly collected.
Councilman Richardson, her representative, commented that all requests for assistance have been denied, including the suggestion that a stop sign be installed. Yet he regrets that council members can only advocate for citizens. It is up to the City administration to act, he said.
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PLAN
Reggie Hill expressed his thankfulness for improvements planned at Crawford Park but asked whether the funds were coming from the current Capital Improvement Plan budget or a previous year’s budget. Councilman Manzie responded that funds were from this year’s budget and suggested that he would see to it that Mr. Hill receive the information requested from the treasury department, also stating that spending for Crawford Park had been a community-wide decision-making process.
He also repeated his long-standing request for an inventory of city equipment so that citizens can make better assessments when new equipment purchases are before the council.
Councilman Daves responded to Mr. Hill’s request with comments on the Capital Improvement Plan spending process in order to explain that it is not particularly reasonable to look at a specific “balance” during the year, as funds may exist which have already been allocated for projects not yet completed or for project not yet begun. “The first step,” he noted, “is for city council persons is to take input from their districts.” A 5-Year Plan is created based on this input. Each council person submits requests. This is integrated with requests from each city department. Decisions are made in conference with the finance department. With a 5-Year Plan in place, adjustments are sometimes necessary from year to year. Yet he stated the difficulty of defining a specific balance because major projects and contracts take years to complete and some are held over from one cycle into the next.
Rich: CARES Act Relief funds will soon be arriving in the amount of approximately $60 million, half of which is coming in the next few weeks and she requested information on planning for these funds.
Council President Manzie supported her request, adding that the Council should directly involved in the decision-making process for these funds and not receive information for rubberstamp approval after the fact.
Richardson: Thanked those who participated in the recent cleanup at Tricentennial Park and described the beauty of the park’s unique water ways. Calling it “a jewel that a lot of people don’t know anything about,” he encouraged the public to visit the facilities and enjoy the recreational opportunities available there. ***