Tuscaloosa City could join opioid settlement, approve Saban Center at tonight’s council meeting
By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Kyle Hamrick
The Tuscaloosa City Council will vote tonight on an opioid settlement, the Saban Center and more.
A resolution on pages 19 – 22 of tonight’s Tuscaloosa City Council agenda would allow the city to join the State of Alabama and other local governments in a settlement with McKesson Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to “ensure an effective structure for the commitment of settlement funds to abate and seek to resolve the opioid epidemic.”
The Alabama Attorney General’s Office announced the $276 million settlement in April, stating in a press release that$141 million from McKesson and $70.3 million from Johnson & Johnson w0uld help fix a problem that saw more than 5,000 Alabamians die between 2006 and 2014, and placed the state among the nation’s top 25 for the highest increase in opioid-related deaths in 2020.
McKesson’s funds will be paid over nine years, and Johnson & Johnson’s will come in a lump sum.
Design plans for the Saban Center and the Tuscaloosa Event Center could move forward with the Council’s OK, according to a resolution on page 18.
Consultants with C.M. Johnson Counsulting determined the event venue would occupy at least 20,000 square feet on the site of the Tuscaloosa News building.
The Saban Center will house interactive learning and activity programs in STEM, theater and literature in “a state of the art, interactive learning and discovery center for the City’s next generation.”
Facility improvements by Chambless King Architects amounting to more than $130,000 could upgrade Tuscaloosa’s Boys and Girls Club, and the Downtown Branch of the YMCA could receive $5,000 from the District 4 improvement fund for a new playground.
The Council could also authorize the Tuscaloosa Police Department to sign “a memorandum of understanding” with the Tuscaloosa V.A. Medical Center “for interagency cooperation and coordinate concerning law enforcement, emergency response and requests for assistance.”