By Chris Yow
TRUSSVILLE — A meeting Monday night between Trussville City Council members and Cahaba Homestead Project homeowners brought up many ideas for how to treat future renovations in the area.
A number of homeowners, some new and even one who lived in a project home when they were built in 1938, gathered to express their feelings on what matters to them concerning the homes. The consensus among most everyone in attendance was the atmosphere and charm of the area must stay intact. Several residents, many of them young with children, spoke of how watching their children ride bicycles down the street with fishing poles attached was something they loved to see.
Jane Alexander said she was concerned mainly with keeping the original homes built by the government historically sound. She said her concern was less about the homes built after the original, but keeping the historical aspect of the project homes was important.
Donnette Plant agreed, saying the historical integrity should be kept, and hoped the style of the homes would remain unchanged.
The wildcard in the meeting was Ken Lancaster, who said he moved into a project home when he was two years old, and when he moved into the home it was brand new. He questioned whether homes built after the originals would cause problems for any stipulations placed on renovations.
“I’m always very concerned when any authoritative agency of government starts dictating things of taste and beauty,” he said. “Because they have a way of changing.”
Jason Garner lives in one of those homes built in later years, and he called his home the worst looking house in the area. He wants to rectify that by improving his home, but his questions were currently going unanswered because there is no guideline to follow in updating homes in the project area. He said his family would like to update the exterior, and maybe include stone.
Lancaster said not allowing stone on the houses, despite there being none on any project area home currently, was unreasonable.
“You would think that, as old as I am, that I would be absolutely adamant that nobody change anything,” Lancaster said. “But I don’t agree. I don’t think these houses are sacred.
“We’re proud of them because we live here.”
The council took no action, but Mayor Buddy Choat said he was glad to hear the suggestions from the audience and was looking forward to talking things over with the council to form a plan.
“We know the importance of what the project area means to Trussville,” he said. “We have to find a way to preserve it without prohibiting growth.”