By Lee Weyhrich
PINSON — The Pinson City Council on Thursday voted to pursue a more than $2 million loan from Joe Jolly and Co., Inc Municipal Securities to finance the city park project.
The 20-year, 3.3 percent fixed-interest, non-taxable loan was offered due to the city’s high credit rating. The $2 million figure will not only cover the park, but it should help the city meet another obligation as well.
“My thought is that we will probably be in the $1.7 (million), $1.8 (million) range with our park given the options or alternates I feel like we will take,” Mayor Hoyt Sanders said. “In December that would enable us to put in $200,000 and then finance $200,000 on our city hall balloon (loan) that will come in due November this year at about $410,000 or $415,000.”
Final details for the loan will be discussed at a later meeting.
The city council agreed to chip in $15,000 toward the Pinson Valley High School band purchasing new uniforms. The band had already raised $25,000 on its own. The uniforms can be used for more than a decade before needing to be replaced.
In other news, Mayor Hoyt Sanders vowed to inquire with the Jefferson County Board of Education of its possible interest in a city-schools agreement about use of the football field at Willie Adams Stadium.
For some time, the council has been in discussions with the school board regarding the poor state of the field. The council discussed options regarding practice fields and the reconditioning of the field.
The school board has been looking into re-sodding the field and constructing practice fields to help mitigate future damage. The current field sees heavy use from soccer, band practice and football, and will soon see use by a lacrosse team. Having multiple fields would not only decrease that damage, but it would allow multiple groups to practice at the same time. The city owns property surrounding the school, which could be used by the school for these practice fields.
The cost of re-sodding would be less than $50,000, but work would need to be done immediately with football season starting in August. Not only that, but with sod, the council could find itself having the same debate in a year, Councilwoman Dawn Tanner said.
Councilman Joe Cochran advocated the installation of artificial turf. While turf would be considerably more expensive up front, he added, the field would have a warranty, a 12- to 15-year lifespan and could handle considerably more punishment. He suggested an agreement with the school board similar to that proposed by the city of Clay, wherein the city would help cover the cost of improvements in exchange for the county allowing the city free use of the facilities for events and youth association games.
The cost of the artificial turf would be roughly $500,000, of which Cochran proposed the city pay half. He also suggested using the property surrounding the school as partial payment on that remaining $250,000. Sanders estimated the property worth roughly $100,000.