Reaching out – Alabaster officials seek input from minorities

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Alabaster city officials are reaching out to the minority community.

Mayor David Frings announced at Monday night’s Alabaster City Council meeting that he is appointing a Minority Diversity Committee.

Councilmember Jerry Workman announced continuing efforts to form a Neighborhood Watch Group in the Simmsville area.

Frings said the Minority Diversity Committee would have a direct link to his office. He said he has already appointed former City Councilmember Bobby Harris and Rosia Dowdell of the Parks and Recreation Department to the committee. Other committee members will be announced later.

According to Frings, the committee will give those individuals in minority communities who don’t believe they have a voice assurance that they do. And he said the group would serve as ears of the community.

Frings said most of the five committee members would come from the Simmsville area. And he said the group would eventually include a Hispanic member.

Frings reported during the council meeting that Park and Recreation superintendent Larry Vann has already identified some improvements needed at Abby Wooley Park off Highway 11 in the Simmsville area.

He said work has already been completed on restrooms and grading and drainage work is being scheduled to reduce standing pools of water where mosquitoes breed at the park.

Frings asked and received unanimous approval Monday night from the council to add three streetlights around Abby Wooley Park, the pavilion and the parking area.

At the conclusion of Monday’s night’s council meeting, Workman applauded the mayor’s efforts to reach out to the minority community.

Workman asked, however, that the city look for additional opportunities at the park to add programs for kids including after-school programs.

He encouraged Frings to add a Hispanic member to his committee.

And he asked the mayor to make sure three additional streetlights are not just enough to meet minimum standards.

He also pointed out the need for the pavilion at the park to be lighted and pushed for two-man police patrols at the park.

Workman announced that more than 20 people attended a Neighborhood Watch meeting at Mt. Olive Baptist Church for the Simmsville area.

And he said the primary purpose of the group is not about telling on neighbors but &uot;Neighbors helping Neighbors&uot; such as noticing when something at a neighbor’s house does not appear to be normal.

Workman said he hopes that Neighborhood Watch idea will spread across the city