Bartow commission recognizes football team

Bartow Mayor Scott Sjoblom delivers a proclamation declaring Bartow the “Home of Champions” to Bartow High School football coach Richard Tate, along with BHS Principal Emilean Clemons and Bartow IB Principal Mandy Craven.

Bartow City Commissioners presented a proclamation to Bartow High School’s two principals and head football coach last week, proclaiming the city the “Home of Champions.”

Coach Richard Tate, Bartow High Principal Emilean Clemons and Bartow IB Principal Mandy Craven received the proclamation, which honored the Yellow Jackets football for their successful 2020 season on the gridiron.

The proclamation lauded the high school’s program for seasons dating from the 1970s through this year, saying the school’s footballers had won state championships in each decade and were undefeated in the COVID-19-impacted 2020 season, the first such undefeated regular season since 1984.

“The players from these teams have been successful on and off the field, further representing Bartow in areas such as college football, the NFL and many former players remaining local and continuing the school's coaching tradition,” read the proclamation.

Tate, who accepted the proclamation, lauded his teams and told the city commission, “I hope we can continue in this tradition.”

City commissioners had stopped making public proclamation presentations in March, when the viral pandemic struck, but decided this instance warranted a variance to that protocol.

The commission also agreed to start negotiations with Madrid Engineering for the purchase of property adjacent to the engineering company's East State Road 60 location.

City Manager George Long told commissioners the company is interested in buying a half-acre parcel of property which is presently owned by the city. Long said Madrid's owner, Larry Madrid, wants to purchase the land to add vehicle storage to the company's existing site.

Long also said the land wasn't viable for city use, and could easily be marketed to the local firm. He was directed by unanimous decision to proceed with the process for the city to vacate the land and sell it to the company.

City Attorney Sean Parker added that the sale of the small parcel would follow all the guidelines outlined in city regulations, so it would take some time to complete and would reappear on the commission's future agendas for formal approval.

On another topic, Commissioner Steve Githens told his fellow commissioners he had continuing concerns about residents and visitors following the city's pandemic guidelines for masks and social distancing.

Githens said he recently attended a downtown event and noted that “only about half the people I saw were wearing masks or staying six feet apart.”

“We need to reinforce strongly how important it is for people to follow the Centers for Disease Control's safety guidelines,” Githens continued.

The city has stopped short of a mask mandate, but recently purchased and mailed multiple masks to each electric and utility department customer, along with information on the CDC guidelines.

Lastly, the commission opted to cancel it's scheduled Dec. 21 meeting, citing the holiday season. It will resume meetings in January.