By Crystal McGough
PINSON – Republican Rep. Gary Palmer paid a special visit to the Pinson City Council Thursday night, Jan. 6, 2022, to give a congressional update, including updates regarding the Northern Beltline, which will connect the city of Pinson to I-65.
“I think we’ve got a lot to look forward to,” Palmer said. “I know things are a mess in Washington and I can’t control everything that happens up there because we’re in the minority, but I do think that there’s some real opportunities going forward. One of the things that I think the city of Pinson has to look forward to is that there was funding in the infrastructure bill for the Northern Beltline.”
Palmer said that while he does not co-sponsor many bills, he did co-sponsor a bill with Rep. David Trone (D-Md.) to complete the Appalachian Development Highway System.
“There are, I don’t know, 13-14 states that are part of that and there are sections in just about every one of those states that were not complete, and the longest one in the entire system was the Northern Beltline,” he said. “It’s almost 53-54 miles. Congressman Trone from Maryland had a section of Maryland that wasn’t finished, and there were several others. And so we co-sponsored a bill, got it introduced, to complete that. The first five years of that, Alabama would get $369 million.”
Additionally, Palmer said he has already worked with Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) and Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) to appropriate $60 million, which is in an account with the state highway department.
“So you take the $60 million that we had already gotten appropriated and add in the $369 (million), and we think there will be another $30 million this year when we get around to the appropriations – you’re talking $459 million,” Palmer said. “… I think that really holds great promise for Pinson and this whole area. I think you’ll see housing developments; I think you’re going to see opportunities for manufacturing and retail that you haven’t had before.
“I tell people, what’s good for one part of the district is really good, in many respects, for other parts. … We can have one of the best places in the country to have a business, to raise a family, to grow our economy, without compromising our quality of life, if we’re smart about how we do our infrastructure because we do not want to become Atlanta. We don’t want to be Nashville. Their growth is so rapid that they’ve outgrown their infrastructure to the point that Atlanta is now ranked as one of the 50 worst places in the country to live. So, I think we’ve got a real opportunity here if we’re smart about it, if we’ll build what we’ll need 25 years from now instead of just going out and building a four-lane interstate like 459. Look ahead at what could be, work with the cities so that the plan is consistent with what the cities want in terms of access to your facilities and to your shopping and to your office parks. I’m really hopeful that the mayors will get together and work together on this, too, to put some money in this, particularly in the design of how you have access to the Northern Beltline. I think y’all’ve got a lot to look forward to.”
In other business, the Pinson City Council approved Ordinance 2022-01, amending the Pinson zoning ordinance to add a provision concerning the Main Street Historic District.
“We’re so grateful that Kevin Nelson has renovated and opened Price’s Drugs into Price’s Ice Cream,” Mayor Joe Cochran said. “It’s a beautiful, historic building. He’s kept its nature about it – part of that’s the signage out front. Well, upon further examination, you look at our sign ordinance and the signs that are on Price’s Drugs are out of order with our sign ordinance … I don’t think there’s anybody in this building or anywhere near us that would deny that needs to look like that. So, what this ordinance does is it allows, in a historic district, the historic value to be maintained.”
The council also approved the following:
- Motion to authorize the mayor to hire Hal Ferris as a full-time Building & Permitting Official, to begin Jan. 11, and Chris Sharit as a full-time Zoning Administrator, beginning March 7
- Motion to purchase four sets of bleachers for PYSC in the amount of $16,000
- Motion to purchase PVHS football helmet reconditioning in the amount of $10,573.17
- Motion to purchase Exmark 96’ Rear Discharge mower in the amount of $34,604
- Resolution 22-03, ordering demolition of a building/structure and abatement of litter/junk nuisance at 5233 Dewey Heights Road
- Resolution 22-04, ordering demolition of a building/structure and abatement of litter/junk nuisance at 6020 Elm Ave.
- Resolution 22-05, ordering abatement of litter/junk nuisance at 6264 Cole Ave.
- Resolution 22-06, authorizing the mayor to execute a catastrophic debris MOU agreement with Jefferson County
The next meeting of the Pinson City Council will be Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, at Pinson City Hall. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m., following a 6:15 p.m. work session.