By Lee Weyhrich
PINSON — The Pinson City Council on Thursday heard from several upset parents about the deteriorating conditions of the football field at Willie Adams Stadium on the Pinson Valley High School campus.
The field has divots and holes filled with sand, and has been the subject of possibly being replaced with an artificial turf.
A new field is likely to be installed, but not this year due to a lack of time and money. Parents expressed their frustrations at the patchwork fix to get student-athletes through the next school year.
In January, the Pinson City Council was presented with a $600,000 figure to replace the field with a new artificial turf. In April, the council briefly discussed patching the field. The council had been in discussions with former Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Stephen Nowlin regarding the incredibly unsafe state of the field for several months.
Earlier this month, the council was presented with an alternate plan to help fund a new turf field. The plan, as proposed by Councilman Joe Cochran, would cover roughly half the cost of the turf installation. The city would make a smaller, more affordable, monetary contribution, as well as a land trade to the school board that would make up the difference. The plan sounded feasible, but those two weeks could not have come at a worse time for negotiations. Nowlin was released from his contract not long after being presented with the plan.
“Our biggest problem is timing,” Cochran said. “Dr. Nowlin is no longer there and now we have a new superintendent in place. As it has come to my attention from the board of education, they can’t consider anything unless the superintendent presents it to the board.”
Even after the plan is presented, there will still need to be a mountain of paperwork and the involvement from the Alabama State Department of Education, Mayor Hoyt Sanders said.
The council asked Pinson Valley head football coach Matt Glover to look into what it would cost to patch the field temporarily while it pursues all avenues regarding a permanent solution. The council also plans to look into what would need to be done to build an additional practice field.
The football team will be using the Old Rock School field until suitable repairs can be done at the stadium to replace divots that have become sand traps. Glover and several parents discussed how dangerous the field had become and begged the council to come up with a solution.
“(Residents) may feel disappointed that we can’t do a project this year, and perhaps it will be next year, but they want to know that this council and this mayor is here to fight for them,” Cochran said. “(We will) go to the board of education and say, ‘You know what, we’re sick and tired of seeing everybody else around us having everything brought to them, having Taj Mahals built, and all these wonderful facilities built, while Pinson sits in squalor.’ They want to know that we’re with them.”
The city of Clay is also working toward artificial turf for Cougar Stadium.