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Posted February 7, 2020
Half Staff Proclamation from Governor Kay Ivey: "I am directing flags be flown at half-staff on Monday, February 10, 2020, as a mark of respect for fallen Kimberly Police Officer Nick O’Rear, who was shot in the line of duty during a pursuit on Tuesday, February 4, 2020.
Let us remember the life and service of Officer O’Rear, whose sacrifice will never be forgotten. We offer our heartfelt condolences and prayers to his family, the Kimberly Police and the city of Kimberly."
The flags should be flown at half-staff until sunset on the day of his interment on Monday, February 10, 2020.
Posted December 9, 2019
Half Staff Proclamation from Governor Kay Ivey: "I am directing flags be flown at half-staff on Tuesday, December 10, 2019, as a mark of respect for Huntsville Police Officer Billy Fred Clardy III, who was tragically killed in the line of duty on Friday, December 6, 2019.
"Let us remember the life and service of Officer Clardy, who was a 14-year veteran of the Huntsville Police Department and a decorated veteran of the United States Army. We offer our heartfelt condolences and prayers to his wife and five children, the Huntsville Police Department and the city of Huntsville."
The flags should be flown at half-staff until sunset on the day of his interment on Tuesday, December 10, 2019.
Posted December 6, 2019
Posted November 7, 2019
HOLIDAY NOTICE: The City of Daphne will be CLOSED today in observance Veterans Day. We salute all those who have served.
Reminder: There will be NO garbage, trash or recycling pick-up today. The make-up day for garbage & recycling will be Wednesday, November 13. (Please note: there will be NO make-up for trash/yard debris.)
Please contact Daphne Public Works with any questions at 251-620-2100. #JubileeCity #VeteransDay2019
Posted November 5, 2019
Half Staff Proclamation from Alabama Governor Kay Ivey: "I am directing flags be flown at half-staff to honor the memory and longstanding service of Alabama Board of Education member Ella Bell, who passed away Sunday, November 3, 2019.
Let us remember the life and service of Mrs. Bell, who represented the citizens of District 5 for 19 years as a member of the State Board of Education. Her passion for children and education was undeniable, and she will be greatly missed. We offer our deepest sympathies and prayers to her loved ones.
The flags should be flown at half-staff on the day of her interment Saturday, November 9, 2019 until sunset."
Posted October 22, 2019 / Updated October 25, 2019
Please be advised that due to inclement weather coming into the area, the Prodisee Pantry Turkey Trot is CANCELLED. Stay tuned for information regarding a possible re-scheduling of the event.
ROAD CLOSURE NOTICE: On Sunday, October 27, roads will be CLOSED for Daphne's Witches, Warlocks & Wizards Ride 3:55-5pm. #JubileeCity.
For more information, please contact Daphne Public Works at 251-620-2100.
Posted October 17, 2019
Presidential Proclamation on Death of Elijah E. Cummings
"As a mark of respect for the memory and longstanding public service of Representative Elijah E. Cummings, of Maryland, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions through October 18, 2019. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth. DONALD J. TRUMP"
Posted September 27, 2019
"Governor Kay Ivey on Friday issued the following statement on the passing of former U.S. Rep. Jack Edwards.
'Congressman Jack Edwards served his state and nation with the highest degree of integrity. As a young Marine, he proudly wore the uniform of his country during the Korean War; as the representative from Alabama’s First Congressional District, he was elected to 10 terms and was widely respected on both sides of the aisle, working with six different presidents. He was President Reagan’s point man on rebuilding our national defense. He was also one of the state’s foremost conservationists, leading the efforts in Congress to establish the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and Weeks Bay National Estuarine Reserve in Baldwin County.
'Heartfelt sympathies and prayers for his wife, Jolane, and their two children and families. Jack passed away early this morning; he was the epitome of a true public servant and was the ultimate statesman for Alabama. Our state has lost one of our finest.'
The governor has issued a directive to immediately fly flags at half-staff on the grounds of the Alabama State Capitol Complex in Montgomery and in Alabama’s First Congressional District, until the day of interment, to honor Congressman Edwards."
Posted: September 19, 2019
"Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday issued the following statement regarding the incident in Tuscaloosa Monday evening, which fatally wounded Dornell Cousette, a 13-year veteran of the Tuscaloosa Police Department.
'Monday evening, I was devastated to learn of the news that Alabama lost our fourth law enforcement officer to a senseless act of violence this year. Two beautiful children lost their father. A soon-to-be bride lost her fiancé. The Tuscaloosa community lost a protector and 13-year veteran to the force. Truly, Alabama has lost one of her heroes, Dornell Cousette.
'We cannot take for granted the tremendous sacrifices our men and women in law enforcement make each and every day in order to keep us safe. Because of Officer Cousette’s brave call to action, the felon he pursued now remains in custody. Officer Cousette laid down his life in service to the people of Tuscaloosa.
'Our deepest prayers remain with Officer Cousette’s two children, his fiancé, the Tuscaloosa Police Department, the city of Tuscaloosa and all of our brave men and women who put their lives on the line to ensure the protection of our communities. The ultimate sacrifice of Officer Dornell Cousette will never be forgotten.'
The governor has issued a statewide directive to fly flags at half-staff on the day of interment (September 22, 2019) to honor this fallen hero." (Source: governor.alabama.gov)
Posted: September 12, 2019
Half-Staff Alert from Alabama Governor Kay Ivey - "I am directing flags be flown at half-staff as a mark of respect for Army 1st Lt. William “Blake” Pickel, who died in the line of duty during a training exercise at Fort Rucker on Sunday, September 1, 2019.
Let us remember the life and service of Pickel, who was serving in the 1st Aviation Brigade at Fort Rucker. Pickel, a native of Cleveland, Tennessee, had served in the Army since 2007 and had combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as an enlisted soldier and medic. We offer our heartfelt condolences and prayers to his two children, wife and entire family.
The flags should be flown at half-staff on the day of his interment Thursday, September 12, 2019 until sunset."
Posted: September 11, 2019
"On Patriot Day, we solemnly remember the nearly 3,000 people who perished on September 11, 2001. With gratitude, we honor the brave first responders, resolute members of our military, and ordinary Americans who showed extraordinary courage to save others on that fateful day. We will always be grateful for the heroic men and women of our Armed Forces who fought in defense of our country in the aftermath of the largest terrorist attack on American soil, and we will never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our liberty and freedom.
Many Americans vividly recall the precise moment when terrorists killed our fellow Americans at the World Trade Center in New York City; at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia; and on a quiet field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. A beautiful September morning was marred by stark disbelief, agonizing sorrow, and profound suffering. America’s strength, courage, and compassion, however, never wavered. First responders instantly rushed into harm’s way to save their fellow Americans from the wreckage of the attacks, the passengers and crew of United Flight 93 decisively fought back and saved countless lives at the cost of their own, and Americans from across the country provided aid, assistance, and comfort to those in need. Against the backdrop of cowardly acts of terror, America once again demonstrated to the world the unmatched strength of our resolve and the indomitable power of our character.
This year, I was proud to sign into law the Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act. This bipartisan legislation, named in honor of New York first responders Officer James Zadroga, Firefighter Ray Pfeifer, and Detective Luis Alvarez, permanently reauthorizes compensation for victims and their families, first responders, and those on the front lines of rescue and recovery operations at Ground Zero. Through this legislation, our Nation is fulfilling our sacred duty to those who risked their lives for their fellow Americans on that infamous September day 18 years ago.
Our prayers will continue for the survivors who still bear physical and emotional wounds and for the families who lost loved ones. We also pray for the members of our Armed Forces who risk their lives in service to our country and for the first responders who work tirelessly to ensure the safety of others. Today, let us remember that our Union — forged and strengthened through adversity — will never be broken and that the immeasurable sacrifices of our patriots will never be forgotten.
By a joint resolution approved December 18, 2001 (Public Law 107–89), the Congress has designated September 11 of each year as “Patriot Day.”
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 11, 2019, as Patriot Day. I call upon all departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the United States to display the flag of the United States at half-staff on Patriot Day in honor of the individuals who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. I invite the Governors of the United States and its Territories and interested organizations and individuals to join in this observance. I call upon the people of the United States to participate in community service in honor of those our Nation lost, to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities, including remembrance services, and to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time to honor the innocent victims who perished as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this tenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth.
DONALD J. TRUMP"
Posted: September 5, 2019
Due to the improvement project taking place, please note that effective Monday, September 9, 2019, the Daphne Dog Park will be CLOSED for public use. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but we hope that you and your pets look forward to a new and improved park soon!
Posted: September 4, 2019
The City of Daphne has completed an assessment of all city-maintained streets. Please see the information located here for additional information. Any questions, concerns or anomalies should be brought to the attention of the Public Works Department at 251-620-2100 or via email at email@example.com.
August 8, 2019
The Buckaroo Foundation’s “Buckaroo Stampede” 5K Run will take place along Daphne’s Route 3 (see right) on Saturday, August 10. Roads will be closed beginning at 6:50am and will remain closed for the duration of the race time. For additional information, please contact Daphne Public Works at 251-620-2100.
August 4, 2019
Half Staff Announcement -- "HONORING THE VICTIMS OF THE TRAGEDIES IN EL PASO, TEXAS, AND DAYTON, OHIO • BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA • A PROCLAMATION
Our Nation mourns with those whose loved ones were murdered in the tragic shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, and we share in the pain and suffering of all those who were injured in these two senseless attacks. We condemn these hateful and cowardly acts. Through our grief, America stands united with the people of El Paso and Dayton. May God be with the victims of these two horrific crimes and bring aid and comfort to their families and friends. As a mark of solemn respect for the victims of the terrible acts of violence perpetrated on August 3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas, and on August 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America,I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, August 8, 2019. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America two hundred forty-fourth.
DONALD J. TRUMP"
July 22, 2019
Half Staff Announcement -- "On July 17th President Donald J. Trump issued a proclamation in memory of John Paul Stevens, retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. That proclamation ordered flags to half-staff on the day of interment for the former justice. The United States Supreme Court has posted notice that a private funeral and interment will occur on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, in Arlington National Cemetery. Therefore, U.S. flags should be flown at half-staff on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, in respect for former Associate Justice John Paul Stevens.
Proclamation on the Death of John Paul Stevens
As a mark of respect for the memory and longstanding service of John Paul Stevens, retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that on the day of his interment, the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset on such day. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth.
DONALD J. TRUMP"
July 2, 2019
Due to Daphne’s Fourth of July fireworks & festivities, and for the safety of all, Well Road between CR 13 & the Daphne Utilities operations facilities will be CLOSED Thursday, July 4 beginning at 8:00am & will re-open Friday, July 5th at 6:00am.
June 19, 2019
From Governor Kay Ivey:
"I am directing flags be flown at half-staff as a mark of respect for Springville Firefighter Jared Echols, who died in the line of duty, during a training exercise on Monday, June 17, 2019.
Let us remember the life and service of Firefighter Echols, who also served as a paramedic in the community. We offer our heartfelt condolences and prayers to his two young daughters, his wife and the entire city of Springville.
The flags should be flown at half-staff until sunset on the day of interment Friday, June 21, 2019. "
June 18, 2019
Daphne was recently named one of the "Best Places to Live in Alabama" by ChamberOfCommerce.org. The Jubilee City ranked number four on the list of the state's most desirable places to call home. Check it out here.
June 12 - sunset June 16, 2019
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has ordered all flags to be lowered to half-staff following the Tuesday death of Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy, Julius Dailey, who was killed in a crash while responding to a burglary in progress call.
Governor Ivey stated in a Proclamation, “Let us remember the service and life of Deputy Daily. We offer our deepest thoughts and prayers to his three-year-old daughter and loved ones.”
Immediately through June 4, 2019
Half Staff Alert -- To honor the victims of the attack in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on May 31, 2019
"Our Nation grieves with those affected by the tragic shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Americans unite in praying for God to comfort the injured and heal the wounded. May God be with the victims and bring aid and comfort to their families and friends. As a mark of solemn respect for the victims of the terrible act of violence perpetrated on May 31, 2019, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, June 4, 2019. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred forty-third. is to order that the flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia is to be flown at half-staff over the state Capitol and all local, state, and federal buildings and grounds to honor the victims of the attack in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on May 31, 2019.
DONALD J TRUMP"
May 27, 2019
Half Staff Alert -- President Donald J. Trump has issued a Half Staff Alert for Memorial Day, Monday, May 27th, 2019, to honor all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. #JubileeCity
May 20, 2019
Alabama Half-Staff Alert -- In honor of Auburn Police Officer William Buechner, who was killed in the line of duty late Sunday night, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has ordered flags to be flown at Half-Staff immediately through May 25, 2019.
May 15, 2019
President Donald J. Trump Proclaims May 15, 2018, as Peace Officers Memorial Day and May 13 through May 19, 2018, as Police Week
On Peace Officers Memorial Day and during Police Week, we acknowledge the incredible service and sacrifices law enforcement personnel make each day for their fellow Americans. The brave men and women of our Nation’s law enforcement work long hours, often in dangerous situations, to protect our lives, liberty, and property. We also take this opportunity to pay tribute to law enforcement personnel who have been killed or disabled in the line of duty. We will never forget their courage.
In addition to expressing our appreciation for our dedicated law enforcement professionals, we must equip them to carry out the tremendous responsibility of keeping our communities safe. Through the Department of Justice, my Administration will continue to provide our Nation’s law enforcement agencies with the resources they need and deserve to keep our citizens safe and our communities secure. This includes providing substantial funding for hiring additional police officers, training for active shooter situations, and improving the safety of our Nation’s schools.
My Administration will also continue to advance the National Blue Alert Network, an emergency alert and early warning system that protects America’s law enforcement officers and the communities they serve. The Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission worked together to establish a dedicated Emergency Alert System event code. This code facilitates rapid dissemination of critical information to law enforcement agencies and the public about violent offenders who have killed, seriously injured, or who pose an imminent and credible threat to law enforcement officers. The exceptional men and women of law enforcement work every day to protect our lives, and this code helps us protect theirs.
The safety and health of our officers must be a priority for all Americans. Every day, members of law enforcement risk their lives in service to those they have pledged to protect and defend. We must not take their devotion to duty for granted, and we must do everything in our power to ensure their physical and mental well-being. Earlier this year, I was pleased to sign into law the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act of 2017, which helps provide police officers the resources they need to deal with job stress and trauma associated with their demanding career field.
The work of law enforcement officers is essential to preserving peace in our communities and to ensuring the safety of precious lives and personal property. My Administration proudly salutes the patriots in law enforcement who selflessly serve our Nation. We also solemnly acknowledge our debt to those who have lost their lives in the line of duty. These officers and their families have our prayers and unwavering gratitude.
By a joint resolution approved October 1, 1962, as amended (76 Stat. 676), and by Public Law 103-322, as amended (36 U.S.C. 136-137), the President has been authorized and requested to designate May 15 of each year as “Peace Officers Memorial Day” and the week in which it falls as “Police Week.”
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 15, 2018, as Peace Officers Memorial Day and May 13 through May 19, 2018, as Police Week. In humble appreciation of our hardworking law enforcement officers, Melania and I will light the White House in blue on May 15. I call upon all Americans to observe Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week with appropriate ceremonies and activities. I also call on the Governors of the States and Territories and officials of other areas subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day. I further encourage all Americans to display the flag at half‑staff from their homes and businesses on that day.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eleventh day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.
DONALD J. TRUMP
May 11 - 12, 2019
May 8, 2019
March 6, 2019
February 8, 2019
February 6, 2019
January 31, 2019
In a joint effort to increase the safety of the students, faculty and families of Christ the King Catholic School, the City of Daphne and CTKS are working together to explore the possibility of a new drop-off & pick-up traffic flow.
This trial plan involves CLOSING SIXTH STREET from 7:15am until 8:00am for student drop-off and from 2:20pm until 3:20pm for student pick-up. During these times, Sixth Street will be CLOSED to the general public and ONLY parents of CTKS students will be permitted to enter.
To evaluate the workability of this plan, a trial run on the proposed plan below is scheduled for three days – Wednesday, February 6th, Thursday, February 7th and Friday, February 8th, 2019.
For more information, contact Daphne City Hall at 251-620-1000.
January 22, 2019
Governor Ivey has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff to honor the life of Mobile Police Officer Sean Tuder, who was killed in the line of duty on Sunday, January 20, 2019. Flags should remain lowered until sunset on Sunday, January 27, 2019.
January 16, 2019
The City of Daphne Administrative Offices & Operations will be CLOSED, Monday, January 21 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Garbage & Recycling will be picked up on Wednesday, January 23. (Note: There is NO make-up day for Trash /Yard Debris)
For more information, contact Daphne Public Works at 251-620-2150. #JubileeCity
January 15, 2019
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff honoring Birmingham Police Sergeant Wytasha Carter who was killed in the line of duty early Sunday, January 13, 2019. Flags should remain lowered until sunset on Sunday, January 20, 2019.
Governor Ivey stated, “Sergeant Carter laid down his life protecting the people of Birmingham, and the entire state of Alabama mourns this tremendous loss.”#JubileeCity
January 9, 2019
The final day for the City of Daphne Christmas Tree Drop-Off will be Friday, January 11. Look for directional signage at 3 convenient locations: Al Trione Sports Complex, Daphne High School, and City of Daphne Animal Shelter. Please remember to remove the following from your tree prior to drop-off: ornaments, tinsel, lights, tree stands, and/or artificial snow.
Baldwin County, the State’s Undisputed King of Growth, Added Another 3,000 Residents Last Year (2015)
No other county in Alabama is rising faster. For mayors, schools, planners and families trying to put down roots, it’s astonishing, nerve-wracking and challenging, all at the same time. Baldwin’s population has climbed by 21,444 since 2010, pushing it past 200,000, according to the latest Census data.The next-quickest growers were Madison and Lee, at 18,278 and 16,697, respectively. Madison County is home to Huntsville, while Lee County includes Auburn. In fact, those three counties have accounted for 49 percent of the state’s population increase since 2010.
But it’s Baldwin that stands out. The county - with a land mass larger than Rhode Island - features no single large metro. Instead, it’s a proliferation of smaller cities and their residential surrounds. The northern half of the county has remained quiet and largely rural. But the southern half is exploding, from Spanish Fort to Daphne and Fairhope, across to Loxley, Robertsdale and Foley, and down to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Shelby County outside Birmingham was once Alabama’s standard-bearer for growth, but no more.
According to statistics provided by the Baldwin County Association of Realtors, the county has experienced a 39 percent increase in the number of residential properties purchased since 2011. And during the period, sales in each new year topped the previous one.
The average days on the market for a house in Baldwin County was 169 in 2011 and 173 in2012. It fell to 158 in 2014, then to 145 in 2015. (**In 2016, the average was 156 days for BaldwinCounty and 138 for Daphne.)
At the same time, the median sales price went from $190,000 in 2011 to $233,007 in 2015. (**In 2016, the median sales price for Baldwin County was $240,038 and $264,469 in Daphne.) “People are coming to Baldwin County because it is an affordable and offers all the benefits without high crime rates and great choices in real estate,” said Sheila Dodson, CEO of the Association of Realtors. She acknowledged the ongoing construction of new subdivisions on the Eastern Shore, namely in and around Spanish Fort, Fairhope and Daphne.
The proximity to Mobile is obviously a bonus for the Eastern Shore. Mobile boasts of the coast’s major workplaces: Shipbuilder Austal USA employs 4,275, the University of SouthAlabama employs approximately 4,000 andMobile’s hospitals have 5,000 or more. Airbus built its first North American aircraft assembly plant in Mobile. It opened in 2015 and is expected to add 1,000 workers in the next couple of years.
Baldwin civic leaders and boosters can cite a long list of attributes fueling the growth. They mention the lure of the beach, relative affordability, popular schools, a coastal vibe, and on and on. And they mention that Baldwin feels safe. The latter, for County Commissioner Chris Elliott, is a sometimes understated attribute.
“We’ll have petty thefts, but compared to large cities, we just don’t have the violent crime,” Elliott said.
Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack said the county simply doesn’t have many homicides. He believes that the record would be no more than a dozen. “On average, we will have three to four homicides a year. A big year for us is six,” he said.
Westward across the bay, Mobile had 26 murders in 2015, and is on pace to exceed that figure in 2016. Eastward across the Florida line, Pensacola recorded 27 homicides last year.
“We’re book-ended with two metropolitan areas with crime rates at the national averages or above,” Mack said. “That’s where you see the bignumbers. You come to Baldwin County and seethe low numbers.”
That particularly stands out, he said, in light of the booming population.
At present, Baldwin is the seventh-largest county, but it’s on track to leapfrog Tuscaloosa County to No. 6. Only 276 residents separates the two counties. Tuscaloosa County added 1,457 residents between 2014 and 2015.
“We’re excited about the situation,” said Heiko Einfeld, (former) executive director with the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce, commenting on the growth in general.
But there are obvious challenges. Among the most critical is dealing with traffic congestion. In the summer months, when the county’s biggest draw - the white, sandy beaches bring tourists from all over, highways such as Alabama59 are jammed for miles.
“That’s our challenge,” Elliott said. “It could mess us up.”
Baldwin leaders and lawmakers are pushing for funding to extend the Baldwin Beach Express from Interstate-10 to I-65, creating a wide new path for beach-bound families. The first 12.8 miles of the new road opened in 2014, linking the Orange Beach/Gulf Shores and I-10.
The full Beach Express’ construction is included in a bill, sponsored by state Sen. Bill Hightower, R-Mobile. That bill would divert some of the state’s $1 billion economic settlement in the BP oil spill case toward funding the construction of the 24.5-mile extension.
County and city officials are also looking at ways to ease pressure on U.S. 98 and Alabama 181 on the Eastern Shore. For U.S. 98, a synchronized traffic light plan is being offered. For Alabama 181, a $3.5 million redesign of its I-10 intersection is in the planning stages.
Schools are another challenge. The county-wide school system enrolled 16,000 in 1985-86; it overtopped 31,000 this year.
The 45-school school system pegs the growth rate at 500 students per year. That’s about the size of one new elementary school annually. But Baldwin has built no new public school since 2009. More than 90 portable trailer classrooms have been placed at school campuses to help cope with the crowding. But last year, Baldwin voters overwhelmingly rejected new property taxes meant to pay for a $350 million school construction and renovation campaign.
With that plan scrapped, school leaders are looking at smaller taxes. The school board recently announced it would stick with a $15.5 million building plan that will add classrooms and cafeterias to six schools. The additions are expected to reduce the number of portables to 60-65.
“The growth has been tremendous,” said Superintendent Eddie Tyler, who joined the school system last fall. “It’s always encouraging, but there again, you have to figure out how to manage the growth.”
He said, “We find ourselves in a situation with our facilities and money ... it’s just difficult right now.”
Elliot, the county commissioner, said the perception remains that Baldwin has quality schools, and thus is a good place for families. “Schools will continue to be a driver,” he said.
But it’s not just young families coming for the schools. Retirees are moving to beach cities and the Eastern Shore.
Herb Malone, president/CEO of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism, said the “quality of life” is the lure.
Said Malone: “Most people who have moved here attribute it to the overall lifestyle... the great assets we have.” He said, “To some it’s the cost of living, to others it’s about a nicer climate than where they are moving from. It’s probably a little altogether.”
** 2016 figures were provided to the City of Daphne by the Baldwin County Association of Realtors MLS Department.
Re-printed in Daphne's Jubilee Breeze magazine | Article By John Sharp | Reprinted with permission from al.com 2017