American Village to partner with county on several projects

Published 3:00 pm Friday, November 13, 2009

Shelby County and American Village officials will be partnering over the next year to complete several new projects and infrastructure improvements at the Montevallo landmark.

Work has already begun on a new staff and volunteer parking area on the east side of the American Village campus near the ALFA Barn, and crews have begun widening a drainage culvert on U.S. 119 to accommodate the addition of turn lanes near the village’s staff and main entrances. The county is also planning to pave a service drive connecting the ALFA Barn to U.S. 119.

Workers this year will also install a modular building near the staff parking lot to house facility and volunteer support services. The modular building will replace three trailers currently being used to house the departments.

The road, staff parking and support facility improvements will be funded with lodging tax money the county has accumulated over the past five years to use for construction projects, according to County Manager Alex Dudchock.

“We have been maintaining that money for the past five years, and we have gotten to the point where we can use some of those funds for capital projects on a pay-as-you-go basis,” Dudchock said.

If money is left in the fund after the county completes the three improvements, Shelby County will build a replica of a colonial powder magazine north of American Village’s new visitor center.

In addition, American Village will be using already awarded federal grant funds to construct three new visitor parking lots on the south end of its campus.

Dudchock also recently asked the Shelby County Commission to continue to provide annual aid to American Village to construct several new buildings throughout the colonial-themed attraction.

The county has been earmarking $130,000 in lodging tax revenue to American Village every year since 2005 to use for financing the major projects, Dudchock said.

“The county has provided $130,000 per year from the lodging tax to the American Village since 2005 for the construction of major elements, such as the new visitors’ center,” Dudchock said. “I asked the County Commission on Monday (Nov. 9) to continue to pledge $130,000 per year to assist with the next group of major projects.

“This is lodging tax revenue, so it’s not coming out of the general fund or anything,” he added.

The annual earmark would be used to help fund construction of a replica of Independence Hall, a new Matthews Center on the south end of the campus and a coffeehouse north of the new visitor center.

The projects also may benefit from a variety of other public and private funding sources, which will be presented to the American Village board of directors next year, according to American Village Executive Director Tom Walker.

Details of the proposed facilities are expected to come during American Village’s Feb. 15 President’s Day celebration.