Last week, The Trussville Tribune recapped the top stories of 2014, from a vote that will allow two elementary schools to be built in Trussville, to the start of a city park in Pinson, to a state championship football team in Clay. This week, we look forward to what the top stories of 2015 could be.
Jack Wood Stadium to be demolished
Beginning in January, Jack Wood Stadium, which has stood in the Cahaba Project since the late 1940s, will be demolished.
The Trussville City Board of Education recently approved TriStar of America, based out of Norcross, Ga., for the demolition. TriStar’s base bid was $374,000.
The demolition project consists of Jack Wood Stadium; as well as a major portion of the existing New Deal-era school building; interior tear-out of interior finishes, ceiling, lighting, plumbing fixture and associated piping; removal and safe disposal of hazard waste in the form of asbestos and lead paint; track field house; and sidewalks of the existing school.
Once the project begins, the track at the stadium will be closed to the public. There will eventually be a modified walking track in the area once a new elementary school, to be housed at the former middle and high school on Parkway Drive, is completely renovated and constructed.
The direction of Clay’s property tax
The Clay City Council could designate where funds from a new five-millage property tax will go.
The council approved of levying the tax in July, but City Manager Ronnie Dixon said in September that the direction of the funds may not be discussed for another six to eight months. Six months from September is March 2015.
Funds from the property tax, which won’t hit city coffers until 2016, could go toward a Clay school system or police department.
Mayor Charles Webster said he’d like to see the money put in a contingency, school or public safety fund, similar to how items show up in the city budget, instead of earmarking the funds. Councilman Ricky Baker, however, said the ordinance had already been voted on and approved, with all but Councilman Ben Thackerson voting for the money to be earmarked. He said the five mills were voted on based on what that money would go toward. If not earmarked, Baker said, “Let’s do away with it.”
The ordinance approved in July that levied the property tax geared the money toward a city school system or police department. Two last-minute ordinance additions to the Aug. 4 agenda would have changed that earmark in order to “support the contract for providing 5 Deputy Sheriffs and support through grants issued to the Clay Elementary School, Clay-Chalkville Middle School, Clay-Chalkville High School,” Ordinance 2014-07 stated.
The property tax equates to $50 per year on a house with an assessed value of $100,000. It would be $100 per year on a house with an assessed value of $200,000.
Matt Pitt trial set for April 20
A trial date for youth evangelist and The Basement founder Matt Pitt’s Jefferson County case is set for April 20, 2015, at 9 a.m. in Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Tommy Nail’s courtroom.
On Palm Sunday in April, Pitt, of Trussville, was released from Shelby County Jail in Columbiana, where he had been since August 2013, serving time for a probation revocation on an impersonating a police officer charge. He was released about four months early for good behavior.
Pitt in September 2012 pleaded guilty to impersonating a peace officer after he allegedly pulled behind traffic on Interstate 65 near Calera in May 2012 and activated flashing blue lights.
In August 2013, Pitt was charged with the same offense in Jefferson County relating to a June 2013 incident in Grayson Valley, in which he presented a Jefferson County honorary sheriff’s badge to Brandon Vessels and Brad Lunsford after the two Grayson Valley residents found what they believed to be a rifle about 50 feet into the wooded area near their homes. The impending trial is for this alleged crime.
Pinson park will be completed
The new city park in Pinson should be completed in late April, depending on the weather.
Ground was officially broken at the site of the new Pinson city park in November. Site work began in October.
The Pinson City Council in August approved of entering into a contract with Clements Dean Construction to build the new city park for $1.57 million. J.A. Dawson will be paid $277,850 for equipment. The total includes all alternates for the park project.
The park will be located near Center Point Parkway between Sweeny Hollow Road and Glen Brook Road. The park still hasn’t been given a name. Mayor Hoyt Sanders said the “leading candidate” for the name of the park is Pinson Recreational Park. The city council will have to vote on a name at some point.
The new park will include an event center, playground, splash pad, walking trail, disc golf course and amphitheater.
A map of the park shows there could eventually be a dog park and baseball field.
Civitan Park, Cahaba River enhancements could be finished
Enhancements that began being made to the Cahaba River in October should be finished in 2015. Construction was “essentially finished” in December, according to stream restoration project expert Greg Jennings. Early 2015 will entail planting native plants along the river banks.
The project, which began Oct. 27, includes correcting and stabilizing erosion and sedimentation issues along a stretch of the Cahaba River from Cherokee Drive to the Civitan Bridge at Civitan Park. North Carolina-based North State Environmental was awarded the project by the city of Trussville with a low bid of $828,299.46 in 2014.
The purpose of the project is to improve water quality, habitat and stream stability of the Cahaba River, and provide a demonstration of urban natural channel design stream enhancement and stormwater management.
In the same area, the ongoing Civitan Park project could be completed in 2015. The first phase includes finishing the parking lot and landscaping around the Veterans Memorial Monument. The Civitan Park greenway project was divided into two jobs in November 2013. The second aspect involves the rest of the site, including linking the greenway from Civitan Park to the Trussville Sports Complex along the Cahaba River.
Expansion coming for Trussville Public Library
An expansion could start for the Trussville Public Library in 2015, meaning the adjoining John C. Yarbrough Community Center will be demolished.
City officials met with Joel Blackstock on Dec. 17, the architect with Williams Blackstock Architects, to go over design plans for an expansion of the library.
Mayor Gene Melton said the project will consist of tearing down the community center to make room for a new facility, while also rehabbing the current library building and tying the two together. The project may also make way for additional parking.
Melton said the plans could include a storm shelter for residents of the Cahaba Project.
In August, the Trussville City Council authorized Melton to sign a professional services agreement for $230,000 with Williams Blackstock Architects for the design of the renovations and additions to the library, construction documents, bid documents and construction administration.
Trussville Public Library Director Emily Tish has said an expansion could include a 250-seat auditorium, administrative offices, a Friends of the Library bookstore and meeting rooms, among other things. She said Story Time and other events at the library currently take up space in the center of the library.