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The Town of Vidalia has identified a number of projects Vidalia citizens would like to see financed with hydroelectric surplus funds.

Two public hearings have been held during the past two weeks with the mayor and aldermen set to make the final decision on how to spend the money during the days ahead.

Citizens, aldermen and Mayor Buz Craft brought up potential projects.

Among the projects requested thus far are placing security cameras at the entrance of neighborhoods for safety and to reduce crime, repair erosion around the city pond, construct a walking trail connecting the riverfront with the town recreational complex and replacing all street lights with LED bulbs.

One idea offered was to digitize the reams of paperwork involving old ordinances, legal records, etc., at town hall, another was that soccer fields be lighted and others want to increase the size of playgrounds and build a pavilion. One person suggested that more sidewalks be constructed where none exist.

Another suggestion was to construct a marquee to publicize town events and meetings, while it was also suggested that additional speed limit signs be placed along Martin Luther King and at Vidalia Junior High.

Other ideas include constructing a splashpad at the recreation complex, pave the existing field used for the Relay for Life at the recreation complex, and complete upgrades of Polk Park including walking paths, pavilion and picnic areas.

Mayor Buz Craft said he wants to see tree limbs or trees too near powerlines be removed and extend Christmas lights extended in other areas of town.

One proposal outlined in some detail was by two Vidalia civic clubs that want to add Christmas decorations and lighting to the old courthouse and extend it to the riverfront.

At a town meeting earlier this year, Ellen Yates, president of the Vidalia Beautification Committee, and Cindy Galloway, president of the Vidalia Garden Club, said they have joined forces to improve the look of the town and to help accent the holidays.

Yates said that the since Vidalia did not have a downtown, beautification efforts have focused on the old courthouse.

She said the groups wanted to extend their efforts to the riverfront.

The clubs want to add lighting for trees in Old Courthouse Square, place decorative light poles for area around Old Courthouse, along Texas Street and Concordia Avenue and leading to entrance of Riverfront

Self-watering flower pots and baskets along Carter Street are also being considered.

Additionally, work suggested is to landscape the entrance to the riverfront, the fountain area and the convention center front as well as improvements and landscaping for the gazebo area of the riverfront. It was also suggested that new town welcome signs be placed along Carter Street.

Galloway said the Vidalia Garden Club will host the state garden club convention in 2023 with 80 clubs from across the state expected to attend.

The garden club purchased new flags for the old courthouse and placed a spotlight on the American flag.

The beautification committee hosts the Christmas Tour of Homes, sells Christmas ornaments and sponsors Christmas on Carter.

Yates said the groups raise some money for their projects but would need financial support from the town – possibly through hydroelectric royalty funds – to perform the riverfront work and other projects.

Sophie Webber said the groups will look at an “Adopt-A-Spot” program in which a group or civic club agrees to maintain a flower bed or flower pots at designated locations about town.

Craft said that about $2.7 million of surplus hydro money has been allocated to projects over the past four years.

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