Opelika City Hall1

The Opelika City Council renewed the contract of Lori Huguley, the city’s director of economic development, during its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday.

Huguley has served in her position since 2011 after serving as Opelika economic development project manager for six years. In her role, Huguley recruits and retains businesses and industry that will bring economic growth to Opelika.

Huguley received the Site Selectors Guild Excellence in Economic Development Award in 2019 given to outstanding economic development officers who have gone above and beyond in their work.

“We are extremely blessed to have Lori and congratulate her for this well-deserved recognition,” Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller said in 2019. “The city of Opelika has certainly benefitted from all of her efforts throughout the years.”

Huguley’s new contract with the city will extend her services until May 31, 2023.

Right-of-way concerns

Opelika Ward 2 representative Tiffany Gibson-Pitts asked the council in its last meeting whether a right-of-way map showing what areas the city is responsible for cutting the grass exists.

After Fuller explained during Tuesday’s meeting that such a map does not exist, Gibson-Pitts asked the council to consider using a computer system to create such a map.

“I guess I’m a bit confused. If there’s no map of the right of way, how does ESG (Operations) know where to cut? How do they know where to cut?” she said. “I did reach out to other municipalities, and they do have a computer program where they can just put a street address and all the right-of-ways would come up on that particular street. That’s maybe something that the city of Opelika would like to do in the future so that we can tell where the right of way is.

“I know a lot of times I’m sure you get tired of me sending you emails about different places that need cut because I get tired of sending them. If they had a map and we provided that to them, then areas wouldn’t go unkempt.”

Fuller offered to ride with Gibson-Pitts through her ward in order to determine which areas the city was responsible for maintaining and which areas that property owners were responsible for.

Back to business

After Tuesday’s meeting — which featured a sparse crowd and no opportunity for citizen communications — council president Eddie Smith offered his thoughts on upcoming council meetings. In addition to potentially letting more people attend the meetings, Smith said he is hopeful the city can broadcast the meetings and allow citizens to participate in the citizen communications portion of the meeting remotely if necessary.

“I do think as we move into June we will start trying to have a more normal meeting while still practicing social distancing,” Smith said. “We will find out what 50 percent of the capacity is (of the room) in case we want to open the doors back up for people to be able to do citizens communication. I know that in June we have at least four public hearings on the business that (planning director Matt Mosley) was here talking to us about at the last meeting, so I suspect we’re going to have some other folks.

“Maybe some time in the near future we will be passed the pandemic and can go back whatever the new normal is.”

Other business

The council also:

Discussed the city’s financial summary report for April 2020.

>> Passed a proclamation honoring the 100th anniversary of the Opelika Kiwanis Club.

Announced the state has awarded Opelika two units of First Class Pre-K, which means the city will have at least six First Class Pre-K classrooms for the 2020-21 school year.

Gave a special appropriation of $1,200 to the Community Foundation of East Alabama for Opelika Giving Day.

Approved street closures for Opelika Main Street’s On Tap craft beer and food truck event Aug. 1.

Approved a street closure for the eighth annual kids triathlon at the Opelika Sportsplex on Aug. 1.

The council is scheduled to meet again June 2.

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