High enrollment forces Alabaster to expand to three winter rec facilities

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

High enrollment numbers in the Alabaster Parks and Recreation Department’s winter programs have forced the city to expand to three facilities this year.

The announcement came during a Nov. 18 Alabaster City Council meeting, during which the council voted to reimburse the Shelby County Board of Education for the utility costs incurred while the city is using the facilities.

“We have so many kids this year that we need another facility,” said Ward 4 Councilman Rick Walters.

The Board of Education usually allows the city to use the gymnasiums in the Shelby County Instructional Services Center off U.S. 31 and at Thompson High School. But this year, the city likely will also have to use gyms at either Creek View Elementary or Meadow View Elementary, said Ward 2 Councilman Bob Hicks.

Although the Board of Education does not charge the city to use the facilities, Alabaster reimburses the board for energy and utility costs generated while the Parks and Recreation Department programs are being held, Hicks said.

The Parks and Recreation Department is currently gearing up to hold registration for its Start Smart Basketball program, which is held each year for 3- and 4-year-olds. The city will hold Start Smart registration from Dec. 6-17 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Depot off Thompson Road.

In other business, the council:

– Accepted a $213,852 bid from Ernest McCarty Ford to purchase 10 cruisers for the Alabaster Police Department.

– Set a Jan. 6, 2011 hearing for the rezoning of a portion of the Alabaster Market Place shopping center off Alabama 119.

The City Council recently rezoned much of the shopping center to allow the Alabaster First United Methodist Church to move into the former Winn Dixie supermarket and begin holding services in the building.

However, the council overlooked a small portion of the property, and must hold the public hearing before it can move forward with rezoning the missed parcel, said Ward 7 Councilman Tommy Ryals.

“When we rezoned the property, we accidentally left out a parcel on the end,” he said.

– Voted to waive the special event fees for Boy Scout Troop 547, which will be selling Christmas trees at the Colonial Promenade shopping center from Nov. 26 through Christmas.