By Megan Miller, Editor
PINSON – The most recent Pinson City Council meeting was an exciting one for the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve.
TCNP presented plans to the council for an open-air educational and event pavilion. Friends of the TCNP and Roald Hazelhoff, Director of the Southern Environmental Center for Birmingham Southern College, joined the council to ask for Pinson to donate a portion of the proceeds needed to build the facility.
The building will cost $300,000, and the Pinson City Council was asked to front $25,000 of that cost, which was unanimously passed. Although the project will cost $300,000, Friends of the TCNP are looking to raise $1 million total in order for the project to be self-sustaining, including the hiring of instructional and custodial staff, and a parking lot that is expected to hold 40-50 vehicles.
According to Hazelhoff, the facility will include bathrooms, a kitchen area and will be able to serve for overnight stays as well.
“Turkey Creek Nature Preserve has been overwhelmed by the demand for outdoor education, and our current facility is just too small,” Hazelhoff said.
Many members of the council expressed their complete support of the project.
“I think everyone here knows I’m in support of this project and have been since day one,” Councilman Joe Cochran said. “I’ve had the good fortune to attend a lot of events at Turkey Creek. The benefits of the Nature Preserve have been self-evident to me and everyone in this facility tonight.”
The Center Point Fire District was also in attendance to make a presentation about a potential training facility.
“We’re listed as a special presentation, but I’m going to say it’s a special vision,” Center Point Fire Chief Donnie West said.
West said the CPFD is looking for property to build a state-of-the-art training facility to service all of Northeastern Jefferson County. The facility would include a tower between four and five stories high that will be used for repelling, a burn building to simulate smoke and heat in a structure so firefighters can train on thermal imaging and search and rescue, as well as rail cars for hazmat and chemical spills and vehicles for extrication training.
“It’s pretty common and it does require a lot of training on our behalf, because we use specialized equipment,” West said.
West said he wanted to come and give a presentation on the need and come back later with a more comprehensive drawing and plan, after he’s been able to communicate with other fire chiefs in the area and “champion” the cause
“This could be a training center for everybody, and would be something the city of Pinson could say ‘we have the Northeast Jefferson Training Facility,’” West said.
One final order of business was to approve a request for the Pinson Special Olympics team to travel on a fieldtrip.
“This is a bargain, this is seven events,” Councilman Robbie Roberts said. “These folks aren’t exactly able to get out and do fundraising like some of the other groups can, and this allows them to participate in things specific for them they otherwise might not be able to. It’s well worth it for the small amount of money it’ll take to impact their lives.”
The motion passed unanimously.