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Andalusia council approves Candyland investment

The Andalusia City Council agreed during a meeting Tuesday to provide funds to update and improve decorations for Candyland 2020, including creating new features to help offset those lost due to the pandemic.

Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chrissie Duffy told members of the council that some of the traditional features of Candyland would not be feasible due to COVID-19 safety concerns.

“The priority will be safety first. We will be working to spread out the event as much as possible,” Duffey said.

Among the attractions that will not be part of this year’s Candyland are the slide, skating rink, maze and train rides. Organizers will also work to eliminate staff-visitor contact.

Duffy said to make up for the attractions that cannot be utilized this year, the event will focus on cottages and decorations. She requested funds of $99,150 for the purchase of equipment, materials, decorations and COVID-19 precaution items such as sanitization stations and signage. The funding request was approved by unanimous vote of the council.

“What we will have is 35 beautiful cottages and lots of decorations. We are going to elaborate on providing a wonderful family Christmas atmosphere,” she said.

Mayor Earl Johnson said the items being purchased could all become permanent fixtures for future Candyland events.

“Some of the things we’ve done in the past are not practical, considering the pandemic,” Johnson said. “If we take things out we should try to find other things to take their place. Hopefully, next year things will be back to normal.”

The council also discussed the following items:

  • The council approved a second reading of a sign ordinance that will increase the distance between off-premise billboard signage. Currently, the city’s ordinance calls for 500 feet between such signs. The new ordinance doubles that space to 1,000 feet. It will not affect billboards currently in place.
  • The council approved spending $25,000 to contract out some of the clean-up and stabilization projects associated with downtown buildings and property recently purchased by the city.
  • Andalusia High School senior Ada Short, representing Peer Helpers, spoke to the council about the dangers of electronic tobacco products and requested the city implement the same restrictions on vaping as currently in place for traditional tobacco products. Johnson indicated that city officials will work on an ordinance to ban vaping and electronic smoking products in city buildings and properties, as well as city events.
  • Council members were asked to review information regarding updating the city’s comprehensive plan.

The next city council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 1, 6 p.m., at Andalusia City Hall.