Stone Mountain City Council discusses sinkhole repair, sign toppers

City of Stone Mountain seal on the historic railroad depot. Photo by Dean Hesse.

By Tenesha L. Curtis, contributor 

STONE MOUNTAIN, GA — The Stone Mountain City Council discussed sinkhole repair, an honorary street sign topper request, and more at an in-person work session on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

Councilmember Gil Freeman was not present for this meeting.

— During citizen’s comments, Planning Committee Member Eileen Smith submitted a petition to the current, permanent City Manager, Darnetta Tyus. She said the petition was “signed by many of the residents of the city of Stone Mountain to encourage the new City Manager to make Interim Police Chief [James] Westerfield the permanent police chief of Stone Mountain.”

— City Attorney Jeff Strickland recommended that two items be removed from the agenda for this meeting. The first was a conditional use application for the property at 849 Main Street. The second was a rezoning application for the property at 5307 Manor Drive. He noted that “the city council has not participated in the public hearings regarding either of these matters and it would be premature to discuss them tonight.”

— Stone Mountain Downtown Development Authority Director Kayla Johnson reported that the building at 5379 East Mountain Street has been sold. “The 5,000 square foot building is now the new home for JavaVino. This property is the third successful sale for the Downtown Development Authority.” Councilmember Shawnette Bryant asked when JavaVino would be opening. Johnson reported that the owner, Steve Franklin, is hoping to open in the first quarter of 2023.

— Mayor Beverly Johnson introduced the permanent City Manager and noted that Tyus “has worked in various cities and her specialty is economic development, community engagement.” This was the first city council meeting the City Manager had attended since being appointed. Tyus said, “We have great things that are coming forth. And the most important thing about us moving forward is everybody wants to. That’s half the battle.”

— City engineer Jeff Mueller said that he recommends Hannah Concrete Placement for the street repair project at 1073 Rankin Street. Hannah Concrete Placement has submitted a bid of $4,950 to complete the repair of the sinkhole at this location. Mueller noted that funding would come from a repair maintenance fund “which has a budget left this year of about $5,294, so we have just enough money to do it.”

— Attorney Strickland informed the council of Mayor Jones’ request for a street sign topper honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This is the first formal request since the street sign policy was adopted in August 2022. The request is for ten intersection street toppers to adorn the length of East Mountain Drive. “The ten street signs is just a guesstimate,” Mayor Jones noted, “we’re gonna have Public Works go out and actually count it, so it may not be as many as ten.” Councilmember Teresa Crowe asked, “Do we know the cost of it?”

Mayor Jones said that a price was not yet known because the number of signs needed still has to be determined, as well as the price of the specific topper design that would be selected.

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