Pelham mayor speaks out on proposed fire museum

Published 4:45 pm Thursday, March 31, 2011

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

PELHAM — Pelham Mayor Don Murphy said he believes it is “time to think out of the box” when it comes to how the city uses the Pelham Civic Complex.

The Pelham City Council will decide April 4 if it intends to transform the main ice arena at the Pelham Civic Complex into a firefighting museum as early as next year.

In a press release, Murphy said the civic complex loses more than $957,000 per year, which is made up out of the city’s general fund.

“The general public comes from all over the region to use our facility, while the actual residents of Pelham are paying for the true costs of running the facility,” Murphy said.

The complex will continue to offer public skating, house hockey and the skate school if the council elects to approve the proposal. The city would do away with the main ice arena, leaving the full-size practice ice arena available, Murphy said.

He said Shelby County would pay for the costs of the regional fire museum, including remodeling the main arena in the civic complex and making improvements to the surrounding areas, including landscaping and a pedestrian bridge to make local hotels and restaurants accessible for the complex.

“The county has made an opportunity available to our city,” Murphy said in the press release. “After 12 years of operating this facility in the red, it is time to think out of the box and move our city in a new direction. By reducing the annual shortfall at the complex, we can focus our attention on other needed projects.”

Murphy said a fire museum would help Pelham become a “destination city” for travelers, especially since the city offers ice skating, golf, tennis, Oak Mountain State Park and other amenities.

“I take my responsibility as mayor very seriously, and strive to be able to meet the needs of all our residents as well as moving the city forward,” Murphy said. “After consulting with auditors and the county, it is my opinion the regional fire museum will be a tremendous asset to the city and residents of Pelham.”