Gluckstadt’s future in judge’s hand
The Gluckstadt incorporation case now rests in the hands of a Madison County Chancery Court Judge following the conclusion of court proceedings shortly before noon last Friday.
Chancery Judge James Walker on Friday gave both Canton officials and Gluckstadt incorporators until March 4 to present final facts and findings before he makes a ruling within 30 days of that date. Canton is trying to annex the area and other sections.
"It's been a very lengthy, time-consuming physical and mental process," Lisa Williams, one of the volunteers who has helped with the Gluckstadt incorporation since the beginning, said. "I have all the confidence that the judge and the courts are going to make a very favorable ruling for the proposed boundaries of Gluckstadt to be the new lucky city of Gluckstadt."
Williams was present every day for the trial and said it was a great learning experience.
"The witnesses provided great testimony," she said. "Several details came out in a trial that were not bombshells, but they were interesting details that I feel could benefit Gluckstadt."
Some of the details Williams mentioned referred to staffing issues with the Canton Fire Department and Canton Police Department.
Canton has 27 sworn officers, but have budgeted for 30 officers for years now, Williams said. She said the FBI-recommended staffing for officers is 2.5 per 1,000 residents, meaning Canton should have 33 with the current city boundaries.
Canton officials testified during the trial plans to move Fire Station 3 to an area off Sowell Road if their annexation was approved. Also, seven new police officers and four new patrol cars would be added to the department.
Canton officials also testified that three new employees would be needed for Public Works and two for court services. Approximately 141 new street lights would also be added in the annexed area at a cost of $1,200 per year after installation.
Attempts to contact Canton Mayor Dr. William Truly were unsuccessful and voicemails are unable to be left on his cell phone because his mailbox is full.
Canton's annexation plan includes five areas that run north, west and south of the current city limits.
Area 1 is located north of the city and includes homes on streets such as Jody Drive, Davis Avenue, Wayne Drive, and Johnson Drive. This is the largest section of Canton's proposed annexation.
Area 2 is sandwiched between existing city property and takes in West Side Drive and part of Third Avenue.
Area 3 is located west of the Nissan Plant and I-55 from Hard Times Road south up to Nose Road north.
Area 4 is located east of I-55 and south of the Nissan Plant.
Area 5 is located west of I-55 down Calhoun Station Parkway from Church Road to what would be even with Kehle Road.
The proposed area includes the following neighborhoods: Bear Creek Crossing, Bradshaw Ridge, Panther Creek, Germantown, Dixon Pass, Stone Creek, First Colony, Ridgefield, Arrington and Red Oak. Subdivisions not included are: Kemper Creek, Belle Terre and Harvey Crossing among others.
The proposed incorporation area is 11 square miles with an estimated population of 2,403, with 931 dwelling units and an assessed valuation of nearly $55 million.
Combined with the incorporation effort is an attempt by Canton to annex several square miles, including portions south to Gluckstadt.
The incorporation and annexation overlap to include property down Calhoun Station Parkway that takes in the two Mac Haik car dealerships and Callaway's Yard & Garden's Gluckstadt location, among other businesses.