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UM students present walkability audit results to City Council

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – Students from the University of Montevallo presented the results of walkability audits they conducted throughout the city in groups at a Montevallo City Council meeting on April 8.

Students of Dr. Jermaine Mitchell, assistant professor of Exercise and Nutrition Science, worked in three groups to evaluate different parts of Montevallo’s downtown area with regard to pedestrian access.

“We were selected by the Alabama Communities of Excellence to have a walkability study,” Mayor Hollie Cost said. “In the process we identified things we still needed to improve on. These results will contribute to our discussions.”

Mitchell said the students considered ways to make Montevallo a more inclusive, walkable community as they traversed their assigned routes, taking notes and photos of positive parts of their routes, along with parts that need improvement.

Students assessed the condition, location or absence of sidewalks, crosswalks and public benches throughout the city, noting areas that could be problematic for residents using wheelchairs or walkers.

“We are committed to getting this right, and you guys are helping us do it,” Cost said to the students after the presentations. “This is something that will make a big impact on Montevallo.”

In other new business, the council presented a proclamation for Parental Alienation Awareness Day on April 25 to PAA Coordinator Kenneth Paschal with the Alabama Family Rights Association.

The council also approved the purchase of locks for the city’s park buildings for $3,256, and designs for park destination signs.

In old business, the council:

  • Approved a Verizon Small Cell Tower Agreement (revised and recommended by Butch Ellis), second reading.
  • An update on the Perry Hall (Mahler House) MOA. The Montevallo Historical Commission voted at a regular meeting April 2 to withdraw from overseeing the house restoration project. Cost said the council will have to make a decision about next steps for the project, but no action was required during the April 8 council meeting.

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