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City moves to replace deteriorating light poles at park

City Engineer Morris Tate said heavy wind gusts associated with a violent thunderstorm could cause the collapse of at least seven light poles around the ball fields at Luverne's E.L. Turner Park.

Tate, meeting with the city council on Monday, said he was made aware of this potentially devastating scenario while adjusting the lights around the upper ball fields at the park. According to Tate, after digging around one light pole, at six inches below the surface line he was able to insert a pen length-wise into a hole, which indicates rot and deterioration.

Tate said seven poles need replacement around the upper baseball and softball fields.

Councilperson Barbara Harrison asked Tate if the poles are in danger of immediate collapse.

"They still have a solid core," said Tate. "But I'd be afraid that with a heavy thunderstorm and a big wind some of them could come down."

The council voted unanimously to have the poles replaced. Tate said the job would be extensive, with concrete poles erected as replacements and in the same position as the old light poles for the electrical wiring. He said the cost would be least $11,000 for the new light poles and $12,000 to employ a contractor. At best, said Tate, the contractor could replace two light poles per day and he would also have to work around the city's recreation youth baseball and softball leagues.

The walking trail through E.L. Turner Park would also paved on Tuesday, said Tate.

In the absence of Mayor Joe Rex Sport, Mayor pro-tem Charlie Johnson led the meeting and addressed the city's dog problem.

"We have heard concerns from several citizens that it is unsafe to walk due to vicious dogs on the streets," he said.

Johnson and Councilmen Al Snellgrove and Jimmy Lester will meet with the Crenshaw County Commission at a later date in order to formulate a plan for dealing with the dog problem.

Lester reported that Commercial Risk Services (ISO) did a full scene evaluation of Luverne on April 26. Asst. Fire Chief William Neal worked with ISO Inspector Larry Gieger during the 10-hour survey. Lester said Neal expects the city to retain its current fire rating, but he would include a detailed report at a later date.

A ceremony is also being planned to honor former Luverne Police Chief Bob Davis.