VIS fifth graders participate in Youth Government Day

The Pelham City Council celebrated Youth Government Day as fifth graders from Valley Intermediate School led their own council meeting. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

The Pelham City Council celebrated Youth Government Day as fifth graders from Valley Intermediate School led their own council meeting. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—The Pelham City Council meeting was anything but business as usual as Pelham celebrated Youth Government Day and welcomed several special guests to the April 21 meeting.

After a day of touring City Hall and shadowing Pelham’s city officials, a group of Valley Intermediate fifth graders got the chance to experience city government firsthand.

These fifth graders, elected by their peers, held their own council meeting in which some presented on what they learned during the day, while those chosen as City Council members passed resolutions.

The Pelham Youth Government approved a recycling program and the placing of recycling bins at all Pelham public schools, an increase in the fine for a littering violation to $1,000 and two hours of community service, an Adopt a Street program similar to the state’s Adopt a Mile program and a comprehensive flood mitigation plan to protect residents in the case of flooding.

“This is one of the best, if not best, group of kids to come through Youth Government Day,” said councilman Maurice Mercer.

The fifth graders also saw an example of the positive impact of politics as Pelham Police Officer Dustin Chandler spoke about the work he along with other families and legislators put into the passage of Carly’s Law.

“It was politics at its best,” Rep. April Weaver said of the process and passage of Carly’s Law.

Weaver and several others attended the City Council meeting and spoke to the fifth graders, including Sen. Cam Ward, Rep. Mike Ball and Rep. Paul DeMarco.

During the regular meeting, the Pelham City Council approved the rezoning of a total of 18.5 acres of land on Huntley Parkway to PR-3 Planned Multiple Family District zoning for the building of a 183-unit luxury apartment complex. The rezoning was approved by Planning Commission during a March 20 meeting and the subject of a public hearing during an April 7 City Council meeting.

The City council also approved $6,000 in spending, $3,000 to support the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Exceptional Anglers’ Gone Fishin’, Not Just Wishin’ event for special needs children across Shelby and Jefferson Counties, and $3,000 to help send the Pelham High School Thespians to Lincoln, Neb., for an international Thespian festival.