February 14--  The city of Vidalia is continuing its efforts to remove dilapidated buildings from the town's neighborhoods.

Monday night the city council authorized $50,000 to get more unsightly buildings torn down and removed.  City Marshall Shaun Oliver estimates that will cover removal of up to ten buildings.  The city has removed more than 200 buildings since it started the program 15 years ago.

In another effort to keep the city spruced up, the city is sponsoring a "Clean-Up Day" this Saturday and city manager Nick Overstreet says 257 people have already signed up to pickup litter and more are welcome.

"One of the main focuses are the arterial routes like Highways 280 and 292 and the downtown area.  The larger the group, the more we can cover.  We welcome anyone.  If you get up Saturday morning and decide you'd like to help, we'd love to have you," he said.

Volunteers will gather at nine a.m. Saturday at the ESG headquarters building on Brinson Road and lunch will be served following the litter patrol.

In economic development news, the council was informed a new onion processing plant is opening in Vidalia.  Joe Filippone of the Montgomery County Development Authority says 25 fulltime employees are expected to work at Sweet Onion Processing, LLC which is owned and operated by Eddie Wright in the Montgomery County Industrial Park.  The company is making a $1.7 million dollar investment, he said.

Also Bill Mitchell of the Toombs County Development Authority says negotiations are ongoing with a company which wants to invest $122 million to install solar panels on 1,500 acres of land in south Toombs County just north of the Altamaha River.

In other actions:

*The council awarded a $16,000 contract to McLendon Enterprises to clear land south of Airport Road for use by the Sweet Onion Festival carnival rides.

*Accepted four small wetland lots at the corner of Houston and Estroff from Tom Peterson.

*Approved submission of a $750,000 grant request to the state for water/sewer and drainage work in the Bay Street area.

*Approved polices on cellphone use by city employees and requiring random drug testing of city workers.

*Okayed a budget of $361,366.54 for capital improvement projects in the city this year.

* Approved replacement of rusted out fencing at the Animal Shelter for $5,656.00.

*The council was informed of a road condition index that will help set priorities for resurfacing of city streets in years to come.


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