By Crystal McGough
PINSON – Alabama State Senator Linda Coleman presented a $20,000 check to Birmingham-Southern College’s Southern Environmental Center Director Roald Hazelhoff, at the Pinson City Council meeting on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021. Birmingham-Southern College manages the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, which is located in the city of Pinson. The donation will be used to advance the construction of a new classroom pavilion at the entrance of the preserve.
“It’s always good to try to invest in needs in the community” Coleman said. “It’s just my pleasure. Roald had been contacting me and I’ve been out to Turkey Creek. It’s just very peaceful. So, you all have something really that I think is going to be a destination point for a lot of people to come.”
Coleman said that the funds came from the Senate District 20 Jefferson County Community Service Grants.
“Thank you, Senator, for doing this for the community and to help us,” Hazelhoff said. “Your timing was impeccable. It allowed us to get back on track and we think that we’re going to be done at the end of March. This help was greatly appreciated.”
After a series of unfortunate circumstances in 2020, including wood cost increases, weather delays and the Covid-19 pandemic, Hazelhoff said the project suffered a serious setback.
“We had serious cost overruns, weather delays and so forth,” he said. “It came to a point that, if we hadn’t had not just this particular check – I mean, we had a series (of donations) and the city also stepped forward – so now we’re back on track to open. We still need to make some cost savings, etc., but there was a point about three months ago where I thought we may not make it. So, it’s very fortunate; it’s very good to see support come, and I think part of that is because, even during Covid, we are able to track where visitors come from by asking them for zip codes. Through that, Senator Coleman and others could see that we’re … not just a local attraction; this is something that’s joined people from the entire six-county area and beyond. So, it’s important that we have a quality product to offer as we want to grow and expand our programs. I’m very pleased with it.”