By Crystal McGough
PINSON – The Pinson City Council discussed the possibility of building a Veterans Memorial Park at the entrance of Bicentennial Park during the regularly scheduled council meeting on Thursday, April 1, 2021.
“We’ve talked about that type of memorial for a lot of years and just never had a place to put it,” Mayor Joe Cochran said. “I think that’s a very natural place. There’s so much traffic there to be seen.”
If brought to fruition, a Veterans Memorial plaque would be installed in the half-acre of land to the left of the entrance of Bicentennial Park with a walkway leading to it. During pre-council, Cochran suggested also trying to acquire a piece of artillery such as an Army tank or helicopter to display in the Veterans Memorial area.
The council held much discussion regarding whether or not it would be possible to acquire a list of fallen local heroes to be represented on the plaque. While Councilors Dawn Tanner and Brad Walker suggested reaching out to branches of the military and organizations like Three Hots and A Cot and Daughters of the American Revolution to assist with a list of names, Councilor Glenda Kirkland suggested looking into the possibility of personalized bricks, which families of fallen soldiers could purchase and have their loved ones’ names engraved on.
“We know there’s no way to possibly get all the names of every veteran that has perished in a war that is from our area,” Cochran said. “Then we also need to … figure out what is our area that we’re talking about serving here. But we can attempt to get as concise a list as possible, I think.”
Cochran said that as the council moves forward with this discussion, he could reach out to other municipalities that have Veterans Memorials to get ideas about design and expenses.
“Again, it’s still in the idea phase, but I think everyone on council is in favor of it,” he said.
The city council continued a previously held discussion concerning taking responsibility for building permits and inspections in the city. City attorney Shane Black was present to answer any questions or concerns the council had.
“We’re going to make this thing easy on law-abiding citizens in Pinson who are wanting to build,” Black said. “The most efficient way to do that right out the gate is to take the codes that are currently implemented and adopted for this community and adopt the same ones, similar to what this city’s approach was with zoning. … So what we’d be looking at is adopting the same technical codes that Jefferson County has adopted, and those include building codes, electrical codes, fuel gas codes and plumbing codes. … It is a process, but we are underway.”
During the March 4 council meeting, Zoning Administrator Bob Jones informed the council that Pinson was the only city still relying on Jefferson County to oversee building permits and inspections. Jones said that the city not taking responsibility for permits and inspections would be doing a disservice to people hiring non-licensed, non-insured contractors.
“My biggest concern is that we don’t have anyone watching for the ne’er-do-wells that’s out there putting our citizens in a bad spot,” he said. “It’s extremely difficult to back-track on that and get it fixed. It becomes a civil matter.”
While the city taking over permits and inspections will not necessarily prevent citizens from having issues with contractors, Jones said that it will offer them protection.
“Nothing is fool-proof,” he said. “We can’t make the world where there are not bad contractors, but if they are licensed with us and licensed with the state and we know of them, they’re easier to track down. It is a very high level of protection that our citizens deserve.”
Mayor Cochran said that the city would likely start out with a qualified part-time employee overseeing building permits and inspections, with the possibility of making the position full-time in the future.
“Code enforcement is not only to make sure that buildings are built right,” he said, “but it’s also to protect the citizens from being taken for a ride.”
Councilors Dawn Tanner and Glenda Kirkland gave an update on what citizens can expect for the upcoming Pinson CityFest on May 8, 2021, at Bicentennial Park. Tanner said that the splash pad will be open and free for children to use during the event.
“We’re going to do things a little bit different this year,” Tanner said. “The splash pad will be open (from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.) and it will be a ‘no cost’ day. We will be having spike ball sets set up; we’ll have disc golf, if you want to do that.”
She said that the city will have disc golf discs available for citizens to check out, and the city will be giving out free sports flyers/Frisbees to each family.
“Our feature act that day will be Parker Barrow Project,” she said. “This is a band that I’m looking forward to and I think everybody will enjoy them.”
Kirkland said that, so far, four food trucks and one tent food vendor are signed up for the event.
Under city business, the council approved the following:
- Quote in an estimated amount of $11,000 for re-keying all city facilities
- Quote in the amount of $2,017 for signage for Park and Rec and Council Chambers
- Quote in the amount of $5,800 for painting common areas of the Rock School Center
- Quote in the amount of $2,247 for fence repair at PYSC
- Purchase of additional office furniture for the city clerk’s office in the amount of $899.25
- Resolution 21-9, authorizing the mayor to execute a catastrophic debris MOU with Jefferson County
The city council will hold a bid opening for trash collection and disposal services on Wednesday, April 7, and hold a special called city council meeting to address the bids on Thursday, April 8, 2021.
The next regular Pinson City Council meeting will be held Thursday, April 15, 2021, at Pinson City Hall. Pre-council will begin at 6:15 p.m. and the regular council meeting will begin at 7 p.m.