Shelby County mayors give updates at chamber luncheon

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Staff Writer

The mayors of Shelby County spoke at the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Thursday, Oct. 6, at the First Baptist Church in Columbiana.

Each mayor gave an update on what is going on in their city and a summary of each of those statements is given below.

Harpersville Mayor Theo Perkins

  • Pointed out that Harpersivlle Day is coming up on Nov. 12. This event will include a talent competition and will also feature a car show. “Harpersville Day is huge, last year we had thousands of people come out and most of our vendors sold out of stuff before half of the day was over,” Perkins said.
  • This is also the season for Old Baker farm and Perkins asked that people pay a visit to the farm this fall.

Vincent Mayor Ray McCallister

  • Said White Rock Quarries had its groundbreaking last week. “This is a project we have been working on for the past eight years and it has finally come to fruition in the last two weeks,” McCallister said. “For Vincent this means 125 new jobs, and good paying jobs, they’re not minimum wage jobs, which will be huge for us. We are very excited to see this movement.”
  • Said in the last two weeks commercial developers have shown interest in developing commercial businesses that will be used to support the Quarry.
  • “We don’t have a restaurant in Vincent or a grocery store, but have a developer who is looking to build a small shopping center that will hold both of those,” McCallister said.
  • He also talked about how great Vincent City Park is. “I wasn’t planning to run for mayor again this term, but we had things going on that I just couldn’t back away from so I decided to go four more years,” he said.

Montevallo Mayor Hollie Cost

  • Said she was excited that Montevallo was named as a Main Street Alabama community. “Great businesses are coming our way,” Cost said. “We are learning so much on how to grow the right way and recruit businesses.”
  • Said the city is working on a new website to attract people to the town and communicate better with residents about upcoming events in the city.
  • She brought up how great Montevallo’s parks are and mentioned that a few years ago they were donated 167 acres of land. “This is the largest single donation the city has ever received,” Cost said. “We are in the process of turning that into a park as well.”
  • Mentioned supporting the fire and police department. “We are really focusing on community unity,” she said. “We have some great community events that will help promote that.”
  • Montevallo has an art stalk coming up on Saturday, Oct. 29, which is a Halloween themed art walk in downtown Montevallo from 1-6 p.m.

Helena Mayor Mark Hall

  • Said they are experience growing pains just like everybody else. “We are a city of 18,000 people growing every day,” Hall said.
  • Said the city is growing its retail base and he is encouraged by the amount of people looking to bring new business to Helena because like a lot of cities they rely on sales tax.
  • Proud of police and fire department.
  • Mentioned a couple of events: The Buck Creek Festival and First Friday in Old Town.
  • Said he was proud of the soccer team winning the state championship.

Pelham Mayor Gary Waters

  • Started out by saying there are only two types of people, happy and unhappy people and that’s what is going on in Pelham. “We have five subdivisions we are building now, some are happy, some are unhappy. We have two schools under construction, some folks are happy, some are unhappy. We have a new rec center we are building, again some are happy, some are unhappy.”
  • “CSX railroad is engaged in a multi-million dollar infrastructure improvement program and you have everybody upset about that because Lee Street is closed for two months. Even people in Helena are pissed about that,” Waters said.
  • Brought up the $450,000 they are spending to re-do the main rink in their ice arena. “I had a lady call this morning asking how we could justify spending $450,000 on ice. I asked her how long her last refrigerator lasted and she said 12 years. I told her well hell we got 18 out of ours. Needless to say she wasn’t very happy about that either.”
  • Said it’s a good time to be in Shelby County and that it’s great to be close to the growth everybody is experiencing.

Chelsea Mayor Elect Tony Picklesimer

  • “It is a new day in Chelsea and I mean that in a positive way,” Picklesimer said. “My new council is here today and we are so excited to move Chelsea forward.”
  • Said the city recently approved zoning for three new subdivisions.
  • Said Chelsea has one of the best community centers in the county.
  • Mentioned the brand new state of the art athletic complex that is set to open soon.
  • “With all of the great things comes a tremendous responsibility and I won’t take this lightly,” he said. “We will do our best for the city of Chelsea.”

Calera Mayor Jon Graham

  • Said the number one problem in Calera is the bridge, which needs sidewalks and bike lanes. “We’ve gone back and redesigned and that project should be ready to go here in the next two or three months,” he said.
  • Mentioned Chick-Fil-a and Jacks were both coming to Calera.
  • Very proud of the new city hall they have in the city.

Alabaster Councilman Scott Brakefield

  • Said the biggest thing going on in the city is the construction of the new high school, which is raising the eyebrows of a lot of commercial developers and is also revitalizing some of the neighborhoods in the city.
  • Mentioned the Alabaster Landing that is slated to open in the next month or two, which will bring in a couple of new restaurants, as well as a couple of new doctor’s offices.
  • Brought up Compact 2020 and the drug task force, which has been huge for substance abuse.
  • Said Alabaster has some of the nicer parks not just in the state, but the country, including the dog park, which was named as a top 10 dog park in the country.
  • Jazz in the Park is coming on Oct. 9 and Fall Fest will be on Oct. 29.

Columbiana Mayor Stancil Handley

  • Said the city has a multi-million dollar infrastructure renovation going on with the sewer. “We’re replacing sewage lines that were put in place pre World War II,” Handley said.
  • Said they are working on a five-mile trail that will connect Shelby Iron Works and Columbiana. “It was an illegally built railroad track during the civil war,” he said. “It’s got a lot of history and that history almost got lost. It will be a historical biking, walking and golf cart trail.”
  • Developing the Old Mill Square Park at the trailhead. “My council has committed to get that done.”