Montevallo mayor wastes no time

Published 3:49 pm Sunday, November 9, 2008

Just nine hours after being sworn in as Montevallo’s new mayor, Ben McCrory performed his first official act.

McCrory is one of 12 people on a steering committee who wants to establish a Montevallo Boys and Girls Club. More than 125 people gathered at Montevallo High School’s Performing Arts Center on Nov. 3 to discuss the possibility.

McCrory directly links youth recreational activities to decreased juvenile crime rates, and he believes the prospect of Montevallo being home to Shelby County’s first Boys and Girls Club is a worthy undertaking.

“It’s the first sign of a spirit of cooperation among the mayor, the council and the citizens,” McCrory said. “Now the charge is to continue that enthusiasm and take it to the next level … to make Montevallo the best it can be.”

Taking Montevallo to the next level is McCrory’s longtime credo. For seven years, McCrory has served as president of the Montevallo Chamber of Commerce, encouraging prospective residents, tourists and developers to invest in the city.

McCrory, a native of Monroe County, saw Montevallo’s potential when he moved to the city with his wife, Gloria, in 1999. Then, he had recently retired as sales and marketing director of Martha White Foods’ pet food division in Franklin, Tenn. He marveled at the city’s ability to maintain its small-town-America quality, and was later introduced to former mayors Grady Parker and Sharon Anderson.

His 30-year corporate experience made him an attractive candidate for the city’s economic development committee, and eventually, the chamber’s board of directors. McCrory later served on the city’s downtown revitalization and tourism committees, as well as the sister city commission.

McCrory is well aware that business drives community prosperity. He will continue his efforts to attract downtown retail while persuading residents to “Shop Montevallo” when they can.

He cited American Village, the Alabama National Cemetery and the University of Montevallo as positive economic opportunities.

“We’ve got so much going for us, and my goal is to take advantage of the opportunities we have,” McCrory said. “I don’t want us to be a complete bedroom community.”

He continued, “Our goal is to grow the population and grow the wealth of the population. If the business prospers, the city prospers.”

McCrory’s other priorities include education, historical maintenance and a fiscally responsible budget “to maintain citizens’ quality of life.”

McCrory stepped down as chamber president Oct. 31.