By Lee Weyhrich, For The Tribune
PINSON — With council members Dawn Tanner and Joy McCain absent, Pinson’s City Council tabled some big decisions, and focused on various presentations and upcoming projects.
Karen Hutchinson with Friends of Turkey Creek came to the Council seeking $25,000 to go towards a major educational and event pavilion and facility project at Turkey Creek Nature Preserve.
The total cost for the project is estimated at $410,000. The majority of funding has come from grants, and some from donations. So far FOTC has raised $260,000 and are still expecting word from two major grant programs. The $25,000 would not only go a good way towards closing the gap, but according to Hutchison it would show city support – something very important to help secure additional grants.
Mayor Hoyt Sanders asked Hutchison to bring plans and additional information to the next council meeting when the full compliment of council members would be in attendance. The council is expected to vote on the $25,000 donation at that time.
The Council received a bit of sticker shock from a major program recently as well. Not long ago the council asked for bids to repair and replace the roof and facia at the Rock School. The bids the council received were far in excess of what was projected by Hendon Huckstein Architects. The bids ranged from $425,000 to $580,000. To put this in context, the bid for the alternate project, the Civitan roof, was around $55,000 from all bidders, Mayor Hoyt Sanders said. Not only was this far higher than either the architects or the mayor expected, but it was higher than the cost of the much larger Palmerdale Homesteads Community Center roofing project roughly three years ago, only $48,000 to $49,000, the mayor stated.
The council voted unanimously to reject all bids and have Eric Hendon from the architecture firm do further research and evaluation of the project.
In preparation for new businesses moving into town, the council voted unanimously to change the zoning of the Jimmy Hale Mission parking lot from “town center” to “highway commercial.” The change will put all of Pinson’s major shopping districts under one zoning, but more importantly it will make it easier for the city’s two newest businesses to do business. O’Reilly’s Auto Parts and Burger King will be setting up shop in this area.
This change primarily affects Burger King, as it more easily allows for drive-through service at longer hours than a town center zoning normally does.
The council has been moving towards updating and integrating their systems and moving towards a paperless system. Mike Ainsworth of Tribute Solutions gave a presentation on his company’s software. The system is currently being used by the cities of Leeds, Clay and Geneva in south Alabama.
The costs are one time setup fee of $1,500, $1000 a year for the base program, $420 a year for each “module” essentially program extras. There is also a fee of $35 per month per user. Ainsworth estimates the total cost would be between $3,500 to $5,000 per year for Pinson.
Parks Director Mike Sullivan gave the council a report on the park, sports and more. While most of the report regarded the status of youth sports, as well as a push to have visiting teams help with facility cleanup when visiting, there was also talk about the splash pad at Bicentennial Park and the success of the park so far. According to Sullivan, the splash pad is now officially closed for the season. While open the park sold $15,400 worth of tickets for the for the splash pad, concessions and facility rentals.
The Butterbean Festival will be September 30 from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. and Saturday October 1 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Veterans are asked to contact city hall if they plan to attend the Veterans Day event this year.
The Pinson Prayer Walk will be Saturday, September 24 at Triangle Park. It will begin at 9 a.m.