South Shelby mayors cruise while detailing city happenings

Published 5:25 pm Thursday, July 29, 2010

Several southern Shelby County mayors zipping around town in a sleek orange roadster July 29, as the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce hosted its July Mayors’ Association Meeting.

Alabama Power representatives brought an all-electric Tesla Roadster sports car to the meeting to demonstrate the potential of electric vehicles.

The bright orange, $130,000 vehicle is capable of rocketing from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds, and is powered by a 288-horsepower electric motor.

During the meeting, mayors from Columbiana, Chelsea, Harpersville, Vincent and Wilsonville took turns taking the vehicle for a spin through Columbiana.

“You push the gas and it just takes off,” Vincent Mayor Ray McAllister said with a laugh after his test drive. “There’s no delay at all. The power is instant, and it’s so quiet.”

The impromptu car show came shortly after the mayors discussed events, issues and concerns in their cities.

Much of the lunchtime conversation focused on 2009 population estimate numbers recently issued by the U.S. Census Bureau, which was publicized in several local media outlets.

Chelsea Mayor Earl Niven said the census estimate was about 4,500 people less than the city’s actual population. According to the census, Chelsea grew by 18 percent from 2000 to 2009.

“If the (2010) census doesn’t say that we have 8,500 or 9,000 people, I’m going to hit the airwaves,” Niven said. “Inaccurate population numbers like that can influence businesses when they are trying to decide where to locate.

“I don’t know many cities with a 4,500 population that have a Walmart,” Niven added. “They missed us by at least 4,500 people. We have at least 9,000 people.”

Niven said Chelsea currently has about 5,200 registered voters, issued 2,700 building permits in the past 10 years and has annexed about 170 homes into the city during the same period.

In other business during the meeting:

– Harpersville Mayor Theoangelo Perkins invited everyone to his town’s homecoming event July 30-Aug. 1.

The weekend will feature a screening session for a film about Harpersville’s history, a historic marker dedication, a graveyard tour and several church homecoming services.

– Wilsonville Mayor Rosemary Liveoak invited everyone to a Scottish-themed celebration of the town’s heritage in downtown Wilsonville Sept. 11.

The town decided to host a Scottish celebration in honor of the town’s Scottish founder, Liveoak said. The event will feature a bagpipe group, a chili cook-off and many other events throughout the town.

– Columbiana Mayor Alan Lowe revealed a pair of fitness center owners are competing for the former Movie Gallery store on Shelby County 70.

Anytime Fitness and a locally owned company have expressed interest in the vacant building, Lowe said.