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State Sen. Shelnutt presents Clay Council with $20,000 check for tennis courts

By Crystal McGough, copy editor

During Clay City Council’s pre-council session on Tuesday, July 9, Alabama State Sen. Shay Shelnutt delivered a check from the Jefferson County Community Service Fund in the amount of $20,000 to Mayor Charles Webster and the council. The money will be used for the city’s new tennis courts, City Manager Ronnie Dixon said.

“I like what y’all are doing,” Shelnutt said. “Y’all let me know when the next big project is and I’ll try and help out. Keep up the good work!”

State Rep. Danny Garrett also presented the council with a check for the tennis courts, in the amount of $23,222.23, at the previous council meeting on June 25.

Dixon said that the construction of the tennis courts is on schedule and the city started laying block yesterday.

Dixon also said during the pre-council meeting that the Jefferson County Board of Education has hired an engineering company to look into exploring the expansion of Sweeney Hollow Road for the benefit of the new Bryant Park Elementary School. The road expansion project for the widening of Sweeney Hollow Road has been on the Jefferson County Commission’s books since 2004, Dixon said, but the BOE and city of Clay have no way of knowing when the project will become a reality.

“We at the Board of Education and the city have kind of taken the bull by the horns on the Sweeney Hollow Road, with the school opening and stuff,” Dixon said. “Even though there’s a plan out there that we’ve seen that’s, you know, 14 years old, the school board has employed (an engineering company) to go and begin surveying. If county commission and roads and transportation doesn’t accept that old plan and find a way to fund it, then we’re going to have an alternative that we can present.”

Dixon said the BOE is exploring other options in case the county does not act fast enough.

“That’s the major concern of the public,” he said. “We have to have access for school buses and cars.”

Bryant Park Elementary Schools is expected to be completed in April of 2020, in time to open for the 2020-2021 school year.

Additionally, Dixon informed the council that he has started working on the budget for the city’s next fiscal year.

“We’re going to pretty much have the same budget as we had this year,” he said. “Nothing major has happened, with the exception of the additional gas tax that’s been collected, and I’ve already told y’all that would be an extra projected $75,000. It has to be spent the same as 4 & 5 Cent Gas Fund, so we have to create another column for that. It will actually be entitled the 10 Cent Gas Fund.”

In other city business, the council passed Resolution 2019-11, declaring weeds to be a public nuisance at 5200 Baggett Drive, 5209 Baggett Drive, 5300 Baggett Drive and 6041 Victoria Lane.

The council held a short meeting so that the mayor and council members could attend the memorial service for 36-year-old Army veteran Russell Patterson, who passed away at Cosby Lake on Wednesday, July 3.

The next meeting of the Clay City Council will be Tuesday, July 23, 2019, at Clay City Hall. The regular meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m., following a pre-council work session at 6 p.m.

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