Moving forward in the City of Progress: Rehab to city sidewalk, city hall coming

Enterprise Mayor William Cooper

Note: The Enterprise mayor and city council held several strategic planning sessions after being sworn into office in November 2020 for the purpose of determining top priorities going into the next four years. This is the fifth in a series outlining the mayor and council’s goals and accomplishments.

Constructing new sidewalks and repairing existing ones were among top priorities that the Enterprise mayor and city council addressed during multiple strategic planning sessions held after taking office 10 months ago.

What to do about the bursting-at-the-seams city hall constructed in 1968 was another top topic.

“We have come a long way in the city in the four and one half years I’ve served as mayor,” William “Bill” Cooper said with a smile as he reflected on recent news that the City of Progress has received a grant from the Alabama Department of Transportation for sidewalks and a grant for two new buses for the senior center.

After serving more than 28 years as the city’s first African American councilman, Cooper became mayor of the City of Enterprise in 2017 to fill the unexpired term of then Mayor Kenneth Boswell who resigned to accept a gubernatorial appointment to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. Cooper was elected to the position and sworn into office in November 2020. “I am honored that I have been given this wonderful opportunity to serve as the mayor of the city that I love,” said the man known widely as the renowned band director at Coppinville Junior High School. “I am here to work hard for all the citizens so we can continue the progress our city has enjoyed over the years.”

The city was recently awarded a TAP—Transportation Alternative Program— Grant from the Alabama Department of Transportation in the amount of $316,236. This will provide the majority of the construction funds necessary to construct a new sidewalk from Highland Drive to the Highway 84 Bypass along Daleville Avenue.

The new sidewalk will stretch approximately one mile and will connect into previously funded TAP Grants. This grant will provide 80 percent of the project funding for a portion of the project and the city has committed $233,137, which is the grant match and additional sidewalk segments to complete the new sidewalk project.

“This new TAP Grant is just a portion of the mayor and council’s push to upgrade the transportation system within the city,” added Enterprise City Administrator Jonathan Tullos. “The Public Works Department is within two weeks of advertising for a new sidewalk rehab project that will repair and replace broken and damaged sidewalks along portions of West College, Pine Street, West Lee Street, North Reed Street, North Rawls Street, West Brunson Street and North Edwards Street. The plan is to repair, replace, or rehab approximately 3,500 linear feet of this 2.5-mile stretch.”

A 720 linear foot sidewalk connecting the new parking lot being constructed downtown between East Lee Street and Easy Street behind the Yancey Parker building to Main Street is also in the plan. “This new sidewalk will wrap the new parking lot and will be a great addition to the City of Enterprise,” Cooper said. “When we have events downtown more parking will be available.”

Cooper credits Parks and Recreation Department Director Billy Powell and Community Service Coordinator Birgit Briggs for “spearheading” a recent Alabama Department of Transportation agreement that has obtained two new vehicles to replace the city’s 15-year-old senior center transport vehicle. “It will give us a chance to give our seniors more mobility for short trips,” Cooper said.

What to do about the city’s half-century old city hall is under discussion. Built in 1968, the existing city hall still has many of the original elements and support systems. “We’ve outgrown the space down here. What we are going to do is fix what we have and try to get it in working shape. Most building projects are designed for a 50-year life and we have pushed city hall to its fullest capabilities.”

Cooper said a study looking at a complete remodel of the existing city hall is being finalized. “The remodel will include a rehab of the external façade building along with modification of the interior floor space.

“The renovation program would include a new roof system as well as replacement of all mechanical, electrical, lighting, and air conditioning systems,” added Tullos. “The design team is also reviewing two external buildings that could house a portion of the staff located in city hall. A final report and recommendations to the Mayor and Council will be complete in the near future.”

Cooper said that the city’s growth has not been without challenges but he holds onto the thought that his sister shared with him when he was first named mayor. “My sister said daddy had told us a long time ago that whatever challenges you face, do not turn it down and always go forward in prayer,

“And remember that ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengths me,’” Cooper said citing Philippians 4:13. “I do believe in walking out on faith.

“We’re working towards making this city what it needs to be,” Cooper said, adding that the city has just hired its first female firefighter. “I want to have men and women in all capacities. I don’t want to hear, ‘It’s a man’s job’ or ‘It’s a woman’s job. It’s a job.”

With a son-in-law who is an Army colonel and a grandson an Army Aviation captain, Cooper says that the city’s relationship with neighboring Fort Rucker is important to the city. “We have diversity in this city because we have people from everywhere,” he said. “We value our great relationship with Fort Rucker.”

It is the teamwork that Cooper credits for the fact that Enterprise is ranked among the Top 10 growing cities south of Montgomery. “I have good people working around me,” he said. “I don’t want to take the credit, these people are my support folks and they are doing a good job and keeping me informed on the day to day activities. I have good, dedicated employees and our department heads are second to none.

“Our city is growing. We have so much to look forward to and we’re going to continue that trend,” he added. “We want to make sure that what’s good for Enterprise is what’s good for all of us.”

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