Pinson’s 10th birthday: Mayor reflects, projects
By Gary Lloyd
PINSON — Happy 10th birthday, Pinson.
The city of Pinson was officially incorporated April 2, 2004.
The city will celebrate its 10th birthday Saturday at Pinson City Fest at the field behind the Old Rock School from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be birthday cake, entertainment and free rides for children.
“That’s our way of giving back and providing something, free entertainment for those families in the area,” Mayor Hoyt Sanders said.
Sanders, who has been the city’s mayor since incorporation, said the area in 2004 already had a good water supply and fire protection. Incorporation began as a defensive maneuver of sorts, to “incorporate or be annexed by someone else,” Sanders said.
The city began operations in a borrowed building with some tables and chairs. That building is now the Pinson Community Center on Dry Creek Lane. The city moved operations to the current Pinson City Hall in 2008.
“We essentially started with zero,” Sanders said of city funds.
For the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2013, the city had $4.18 million in assets. Sanders said the city has experienced revenue growth every year since incorporation.
Some needs from the new city’s outset in 2004 were a traffic light in front of Pinson Valley High School, a law enforcement presence with Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies, completing subdivisions, developing a city library and other civil projects.
A project that will move Pinson forward is the construction of the Northern Beltline, a 52-mile corridor that will connect Interstate 59 in northeast Jefferson County to the Interstate 459 interchange with I-20/59 near Bessemer. The first segment, estimated to be completed by late 2016, will connect Alabama Highway 75 and Alabama Highway 79 in the Pinson area.
“Certainly I think that will bring some commercial growth to our area,” Sanders said. “We’re excited about what that will mean.”
The forthcoming city park, which will be located between Sweeney Hollow Road and Glen Brook Road, will be a welcomed addition.
“It’s going to allow our residents to be able to enjoy a venue here within the city,” Sanders said. “It’s going to be a welcomed attraction for us to have venues that we can offer and attractions for our children to attend here within the city.”
Sanders said Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, which was the site of mischief in the 1980s, has been an “outstanding area” in recent years.
“That’s great for the city,” Sanders said.
The Pinson City Council earlier this year voted to rename Alabama Highway 75 from Saturn Lane to the Highway 151 intersection Pinson Boulevard. The change is in order to differentiate the Center Point and Pinson sections of Highway 75. It lends more of an identity to the city. Sanders said the city is working with other jurisdictions on this and that he “certainly hopes” new street signs for this area are in by the end of the year.
Sanders said his “most profound and distinct” memory in the last 10 years is of a Pinson Valley High School graduate, William Zachary van Osdol, who was killed in the line of duty during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009. Sanders and the city council participated in his service and funeral in Trussville.
“I know, speaking for me and the council, we will never quite think about Veterans Day the same way after you’ve been through and seen firsthand that freedom is really not free,” Sanders said.
Sanders said he feels as if the city is headed in a good direction. He said it’s difficult to forecast future projects, but it depends on Pinson’s commercial growth.
“I think in 10 years we might be talking about things that we can’t even fathom today,” he said. “We could be talking about a school system, we could be talking about a police department. It’ll all be driven by the financial growth that we have. If you had asked me 10 years ago what we’d be doing today, building a park and some of these things, I don’t know that I could have said that.”
The population in 2004 was 5,033 by the city’s numbers, though the Regional Planning Commission pegged that number at 6,081. The population at the time of the 2010 U.S. Census was 7,163. The city council annexes properties and residence into the city at almost every meeting.
“I certainly feel like we will continue to grow,” Sanders said.
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.