Calera perfect for museum

Published 2:49 pm Tuesday, April 12, 2011

After the uproar of the last two weeks over whether Pelham would do away with one of the ice rinks inside the Pelham Civic Complex to make room for a proposed fire museum, County Manager Alex Dudchock’s April 11 announcement that Calera would be the site for the museum came as a welcome end to the debate.

Dudchock’s recommendation of Calera also came as a fitting end.

From the beginning, it has been apparent Calera is the best choice for this fire museum, which will be located close to the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum and will help solidify Calera’s reputation as a cultural center in Shelby County.

Calera city officials, as well as citizens, have been excited about the possibility of bringing another museum to the city, and are willing to make the financial commitment necessary for such a project to come to fruition.

Calera has committed $625,425 – including $495,000 for the land, which is about two blocks from Interstate 65’s exit 228 – to develop the site and $15,000 in annual contributions.

City officials have also made smart decisions throughout the process, such as choosing to place the museum site right off I-65. Drive-through traffic will be able to easily find the museum, giving the facility a chance at a wider audience beyond the school groups and fire-fighting enthusiasts who will undoubtedly visit.

This is the next step in Calera’s quest to expand its cultural reach and brand itself as a ‘destination city,’ as Calera Mayor Jon Graham recently said. This is the right time and the right location for such a museum, and we’re pleased Dudchock made the right recommendation.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.