Towns celebrate history

Published 7:06 pm Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Shelby County will be well represented during the statewide Year of Alabama Small Towns and Downtowns in 2010.

The year-long celebration is sponsored by the governor’s office, the Alabama League of Municipalities, the Alabama State Chambers of Commerce and the Alabama Tourism Department.

Alabaster, Chelsea, Columbiana, Harpersville, Helena, Hoover, Montevallo, Pelham, Vincent, Westover, Wilsonville and Wilton are participating in the event. Calera and Indian Springs are not.

Juanita Champion, a Chelsea city council member, said Chelsea’s city government chose to participate to bring some awareness to citizens.

“We think it’s an exciting concept. It gives us an opportunity to display our history,” she said. “It’s a time to remember and a time to learn.”

Through the Year of Alabama Small Towns and Downtowns, each participating city will get a historic marker to display, as well as have photographs featured in a book to be produced by the Tourism Department.

For the initiative, towns are asked to declare a homecoming weekend and invite fomer residents of the town back to share some history.

Homecoming weekend in Chelsea will be Saturday, March 6, 2010, Champion said. The council chose that date because it’s close to Chelsea’s incorporation date.

“This is going to be our first city-wide birthday party,” she said.

Columbiana Mayor Allan Lowe said Columbiana hopes to draw visitors and future citizens by throwing a summertime homecoming weekend that will coincide with the city’s Music on Main Street.

“I feel that by showcasing our city through this program, we will attract people who want to call Columbiana home,” Lowe said. “Columbiana has a great heritage, of which we are very proud.”

Helena’s city council wanted to do the governor proud, said council member Cris Nelson.

“The governor is requesting all the municipalities to participate in 2010. We’re all about jumping onboard,” Nelson said. “It’s going to allow Helena to participate in a state-wide event.”

She said Helena’s homecoming weekend, which will be the same weekend as the 2010 Buck Creek Festival, will be “kind of like a high school reunion” with old Helena residents coming back home.

“We’re really excited about having the past residents back, and anything we can ever do to promote the city is a great idea,” Nelson said.