Mayors share positive news at luncheon
By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor
Twelve of Shelby County’s mayors said economic times are getting better in their cities during the Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce’s annual mayoral luncheon Feb. 29 at the Pelham Civic Complex.
During the luncheon, representatives from Alabaster, Calera, Chelsea, Columbiana, Harpersville, Helena, Indian Springs Village, Montevallo, Pelham, Westover, Wilton and Vincent gave brief summaries of the happenings in their cities over the past year.
Alabaster Mayor David Frings praised Shelby County for recently reaching 5 percent unemployment, and shared updates about the city’s economic development projects.
Frings said the city likely will soon be getting a new national restaurant chain, and said two large new corporations soon will be locating to the Shelby West Corporate Park.
“We have a lot of exciting times ahead. There’s a lot happening in Alabaster,” Frings said.
Pelham Mayor Don Murphy said his city also has several new economic development projects in the works, including a new Aldi grocery store, a new car wash and a new private preschool.
“We’re doing fine here in Pelham. It’s been real good,” Murphy said. “I love all these mayors. I love serving with them. We’ve got a great county, and I’m proud of it.”
Calera Mayor Jon Graham said his city has not been faced with the same housing downturn other cities have seen, and issued 117 new home building permits last year.
“Our population is 11,700 and we are adding to that every day,” Graham said.
Chelsea Mayor Earl Niven said several new businesses will soon be coming to his city, including a Bojangles and a Wendy’s. Chelsea also recently donated $500,000 to the Shelby County Board of Education to build a full-size gymnasium to use for city sports in Chelsea’s new elementary school.
Columbiana Mayor Allan Lowe said a company recently purchased the vacant Winn Dixie building on Alabama 25, and said his city’s sales, business license and ad valorem taxes are up from last year.
Harpersville Mayor Theo Perkins said Budweiser’s new distribution plant on U.S. 280 is about “90 percent complete,” and said the TMH Lifts company recently moved to his city.
Helena Mayor Sonny Penhale said engineers soon could begin designing a bypass road around the northern part of the city, and praised the Shelby County School System for working to bring a high school to the city.
Indian Springs Mayor Steve Zerkis said his city has purposely seen little development over the past year, and said Indian Springs was the “only town in America to have two schools win Blue Ribbon Awards.”
Montevallo Mayor Ben McCrory said the Montevallo City Council recently voted to borrow $1.5 million to fund a downtown revitalization project, and said the city soon will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony to kick off the project.
Westover Mayor Mark McLaughlin said his city has seen an increase since last year in the number of business licenses it has issued, and said traffic signals soon could be coming to a few dangerous intersections on U.S. 280.
Wilton Town Clerk April Price, who spoke on behalf of Wilton Mayor Joe Fancher, said Wilton officials recently began visiting with their residents to “find out what they want” from their city officials.
“There are some good ideas out there,” Price said.
Vincent Mayor Ray McAllister said the city recently worked with Alabama Department of Transportation officials to repave the “worst road in the state of Alabama,” and said the city recently purchased two new police cars and a new fire truck.