By Erica Thomas, managing editor
CENTER POINT — Center Point Mayor Tom Henderson, the only mayor Center Point has ever had, said he wants to continue to lead the city and announced he will run for re-election in 2020.
Henderson has lived in Center Point since 1967. He has taught at Jefferson State for 33 years and he coached gymnastics there.
“Center Point’s my heart,” Henderson said. “I’ve been living here a long time. I’ve seen it at its peak and I’ve seen it at its lowest. Now it’s moving back towards being a city that we can be really proud of.”
Henderson retired in 2000 from Jefferson State. That’s the year he took part in CPAC (Center Point Action Committee) to clean up the Center Point Community. When the city was incorporated in 2002, Henderson was elected the city’s first mayor.
“I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished,” said Henderson. “When we became a city, there was no Walmart Market, there was no Food Giant, there was no Hibbet, there was no park on Polly Reed Road and we did not have the ballpark on Chalkville School Road, it was run down.”
Henderson said his administration has been recruiting more businesses to the city of Center Point.
“It’s moving forward really good now,” Henderson said. “We’ve got a lot of businesses moving in and a lot of businesses getting ready to move in.”
Other additions to the city include the new Community Center, the Center Point Library, an addition to the Senior Center, Hillcrest Manor and a splash pad.
Henderson said the city is focusing on curbing crime by adding 50 Flock Safety cameras and the city recently had a public hearing on a report by the Department of Justice. Henderson said there have been studies to find out if the city could afford a police department, but those studies showed it was not feasible.
“It would cost us to get the coverage we have right now over $4 million just to start a police department,” Henderson said. “People don’t realize what’s covered in that.”
Henderson said the contract deputies the city has from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office are working in the fight against crime. The city has six contract deputies that cost the city around $800,000 a year. Other deputies also work inside Center Point city limits.
Henderson said the work he has done for the city speaks for itself and he looks forward to continuing leading the city.
“We still have a vision for the city and we have things we want to do for it,” said Henderson. “We have a sidewalk project that has been 11 years in the marking and it’s about to start.”
The mayor said his goal is to make Center Point the best it can possibly be. He believes the location of the city can be beneficial to businesses.
“We really are like our name, we are the center point of everything,” Henderson said.
Another project the city is working on is a dog park off Saturn Lane. Henderson said these amenities make Center Point an attractive city.
During his time as mayor, Henderson has served as president of the Jefferson County Mayor’s Association three times. He has been on the council for the League of Municipalities for 16 years and he is currently president of the Municipal Workers Compensation Fund. Henderson is on the board for the Regional Planning Commission in Birmingham and has served on the board of the Municipal Planning Organization for two terms.
Candidates for municipal elections across the state will begin to officially qualify on July 7, 2020. Center Point’s municipal election will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 25.