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December 28, 2012

2012 events for city outlined

Begins with smoking ordinance

Athens — The City of Athens began 2012 with discussions of a possible smoking ordinance, and ended with a new mayor.

In January, the city set two public hearings on an ordinance stopping smoking in certain public places.

With a draft ordinance in place, the city began fine-tuning the regulation that would eliminate lighting up in establishments where food is served.

On Jan. 18, officials from the Athens Chamber of Commerce, Athens Economical Development, Keep Athens Beautiful and The Athens Tourist Center gathered for the ribbon cutting at the Athens Partnership Center. The building at Corsicana Street and Pinkerton Street includes offices and meeting rooms.

 The Athens City Council voted in March, to award a contract for almost $300,000 to lay sewer line on Wood Street. The major improvement replaced line that had been in-use since the 1940s, and readied it for expanded needs in the area.

On April 18, Economic Development Corporation President/CEO Brian Malone told the city council of a new business coming to the city. California based Thrillworks Inc. was planning on setting up Athens operations on a property on Flat Creek Road.

The 16-year-old business would do business under name of Extreme Engineering things, like climbing walls, zip lines, jumper systems and adventure products.

The Athens Fire Department got approval from the council in August for a major piece of equipment. At a cost of $900,000, the AFD purchased a pumper/ladder fire engine, and related accessories, including a 103-foot-ladder. The new “Spartan Quint” replaces the old ladder truck that had been in use for more than 20 years.

Budget talks came to a close in September, with passage of a budget that included funds for major street repairs.

The $14,619,027 package is higher than the $13,953,580 passed in 2011. The city budgeted at total of $1,266,642 in the street-line item, an increase from $1,004,483 the year before.

In November, Mayor Randy Daniel resigned to accept the position of interim Justice of the Peace Precinct 1, filling the post left by the death of Henry Ashford.

Mayor Pro-tem Jerry Don Vaught was sworn in as interim mayor. In December, Daniel was chosen as the permanent Precinct 1 JP.

December began with the Athens Christmas Parade winding its way around the courthouse square on a warm Saturday night. The crowd saw one of the largest processions of entries in the history of the event. The 2012 version of the parade was the first ever under the direction of the City of Athens.

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