Alabaster names park sites in town

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 17, 2004

The city of Alabaster officially named three parks; Councilmember Bobby Harris stated he has no problem with Alabaster Police and that he is not interested in a job with an Alabaster City School System; and the mayor and council officially welcomed new Fire Chief Franklin Matherson Jr.

at its regular meeting Monday night.

The council approved the naming of two new parks and one existing city park.

According to Councilmember Jim McClain, the city held a contest for Alabaster residents to participate in naming the parks.

Winning park names were Veterans Park for the new park being constructed on Highway 119, Limestone Park for the new park on Highway 31 and Warriors Park for the existing city baseball and softball complex.

In a public statement,

Councilmember Harris made a statement in regard to the possibility of an Alabaster City School System being researched.

&uot;Even though I am a former educator, I have no interest at all in returning to the school system …&uot; Harris said, indicating that to do so, he would have to repay four years of retirement, that is money he does not have, he said.

The city council recently voted

to spend up to $12,000 for city attorney Greg Morris to provide an assessment and feasibility study on the formation of a city school system.

Harris also made a statement regarding a U.S. Justice Department investigation into a civil rights case involving the Alabaster Police.

&uot;I have no problem with the Alabaster Police Department … none whatsoever.&uot;

He said in an exit interview he stated that recommendations the Justice Department gave the city police department &uot;would be applicable to any other police department … Hoover, Mountain Brook, Birmingham.&uot;

He said that was because they &uot;deal with policy and procedure … good practices.

&uot;I want that to be firmly understood &045; I have no problem with the police department. I am perfectly satisfied.&uot;

Mayor David Frings said, however, that the Justice Department made no written recommendation to the Police Department.

He said the Justice Department came for interviews in connection with a civil rights violation and brought in a police consultant.

Changes in policy since the interviews were based simply on best practices, the mayor indicated.

Some of the changes may have been the result of questions asked by the Justice Department during those interviews, he said.

Since the Justice Department visits, Frings said the Police Department has created a full-time training officer position, created a separate website for complaints and posted a complaint procedure at the Police Station.

Frings reported to the council that the Masonic Lodge has offered the use of property by the city’s Soccer Board.

However, he said, the Soccer Board needs to provide an estimated cost to make use of the land and present that to the city’s parks and recreation board.

In other park and recreation matters, the council approved the appointment of Paulette Richardson and Brian Cooper to two-year terms on the parks and recreation board.

The council also voted to waive fees for the use of the softball complex by Thompson High School and the use of Buck Creek Park by the Shelby County Humane Society.

McClain said THS will use the fields April 16-17 and the Humane Society will hold its Bark in the Park there on June 12.

The council also approved a resolution welcoming new Fire Chief Matherson on board.

Matherson responded: &uot;I appreciate the confidence you’ve shown in my ability to take this department to a greater height.&uot;

Following Monday night’s meeting, Councilmember Michael Sherwood explained the purpose of an ordinance to restrict public nudity for which a public hearing which will be held March 1.

Sherwood said the ordinance, if approved, will restrict strip clubs, novelty stores and adult bookstores from coming into Alabaster.

Due to the amount of both residential and commercial growth in the city, he said, it is &uot;better to be proactive rather than reactive. We’re a city for families.&uot;

In other matters, the council:

* Heard a report on a possible $80,000 grant with a 10 percent ($8,000) match for hazardous materials equipment and training for the Fire Department.

* Approved a $5,000 grant application to the county with a $5,000 match to come from the library budget to increase the availability of reference services.

* Approved the annexation of 14 acres on Highway 17 for Norris and Goodwin.

Councilmember Tommy Ryals said the property will come into the city as municipal reserve. He said the property is expected to be used for some commercial and 1,400-square foot homes.

* Approved a resolution allowing the Alabaster Water Board to sell property in the Interstate 65, Exit 238 redevelopment area as surplus to the city at a price of $1.05. Council President Rick Walters said he appreciated the water board for working with the city.

*Approved a resolution to accept a bid price of $39,480 for a bulk waste knuckle boom trash loader from Alabama Truck & Body