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Tire Amnesty Day Set, Railroad Crossing Update

News Editor

The March 6 meeting of the Dade County Commission highlighted the upcoming tire amnesty day, a solution to roads being blocked by trains for extended periods of time, and several events happening at the library.

Melissa Bradford, commissioner for District 4, announced the Annual Allan Bradford Tire Amnesty Day coming up on Saturday, May 6 on which Dade County residents can bring up to 20 tires per resident to the transfer station for free disposal. Normally, residents pay a disposal fee of $2.75 per 18-inch and smaller tires and 22 cents per pound for larger tires. Bradford noted that tire amnesty only applies to standard sized tires. Tires must be cleaned of dirt and debris to be accepted.

Don Townsend (chief financial officer and county clerk) then explained the new Transit Trust Fund Program through the Georgia Department of Transportation, saying, “This is a new fund created by the Department of Transportation. The money’s raised from the express lane tolls. The cities get a certain amount, and they split everybody else up. Our portion is $45,629…We’re going to use it for [next year’s] operating funds for [Dade County Transit].” The commission approved applying for the funds.

Annette Cash, director of the senior center and public transit system, then noted some updates needed for the senior center and the new rental fee of $150 and a $100 deposit.

She noted that the public transit system recently began receiving funds from the Transit Alliance Group, a 501(c)3, that pays the county $18 per trip for seniors. Cash said, “I can’t brag on our drivers enough. They all do a fantastic job.”

Lamar Lowery, commissioner for District 1, reported that the 911 calls for March totaled 3,401 with:

  • EMS: 206
  • Fire & Rescue: 281
  • Law Enforcement: 2,914

Lowery then noted the complications residents have been having with the railroad, particularly in the north end of the county. Trains have remained on the tracks for extended periods of time, blocking entrances to roads and neighborhoods. Lowery said, “They can’t get home. Children are having to be passed under the trains for the school buses, which is illegal to do. Ted’s been meeting with the railroad. I’ll let him finish up on that.”

County Executive Ted Rumley later explained that Clark Street and Steele Road have been significantly affected. He said, “It’s been many, many times over the last two years that people couldn’t get home from work or get out to work. There’ve been people losing their jobs over it.” He noted that the trains are sometimes parked for three to five hours.

Rumley explained the county’s solution. “We’re going to build an access road from where Steele Road comes south on Guinn Road…It’s not going to cost a whole lot of money…It’ll tie into Belk Road. Even if that crossing is blocked, there is another way out [to] Old Birmingham Highway.”

Rumley explained that they will also build an access road near Clark Street. “That will tie into Vanguard Drive. If they have to, they can go all the way down Sunset to Highway 136, but normally when it’s blocked [at Clark Street], they can get out at the Bank of Dade.”

Rumley then addressed recent questions about the storm shelters, explaining that the shelters’ openings depend on weather reports from Huntsville, Ala. “If they start getting storm watches over there, I guarantee all the storm shelters will be unlocked. Also downstairs [in the county commission building] it’s always open. The sheriff’s department is also a safe place.”

He continued, “Our warnings are depending on the national weather. That’s what Alex [Case] goes by. The other night…we didn’t even have a watch here in Dade County…All at once it went from a watch to a warning in Ider, Ala.”

Rumley also addressed upcoming bridge construction, noting that the Highway 136 bridge by Dade County High School will likely not be under construction until 2025. He said, “They will build a run-around bridge, probably one lane with a red light. It’ll be down probably for a year. They decided not to do the [express bridge] for whatever reason.”

He mentioned a bridge over Squirrel Town Creek that will likely be under construction in early spring of 2024. The Slygo Road bridge over the interstate will likely also begin at that time. Rumley said, “That’s gonna be another year to 15-month [project] because they’re crossing the interstate highway.”

Rumley and Billy Massengale (director of public works) will learn more about the bridge projects at an upcoming meeting.

Mindy Haworth, library branch manager, reported that the youth education coordinator position has been filled. Lynn Arp will officially start on April 12 as the YEC. She then noted two upcoming events at the library.

First, Kris Whorton, a professor at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, will be reading from her book of poetry on April 18 at 6 p.m. Second, a representative from Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones’ office will be at the library on April 20 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. to hear from constituents.

Visit the library, the library’s website (, or call 706-657-7857 for more information about these events.

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