Pelham council conducts interviews for vacant CDA board seat

PELHAM – The Pelham City Council conducted three interviews at its Dec. 19 meeting for a vacant spot on the city’s Commercial Development Authority board.

The council interviewed Pelham residents Amy Bradley, Tommy Johnson and Frederick Hamilton for about 15 minutes each.

Up first was Amy Bradley, a Pelham realtor and a licensed general contractor, who said that if selected for the position her first priority would be developing the east side of Interstate 65. She said the area lacks shopping and eatery options.

She named Trader Joe’s, Zoe’s Kitchen and Whole Foods some of the businesses she would like to see open in the city. She said Pelham is “poised to be a health and fitness community” with Oak Mountain State Park, Ballantrae Golf Club and Pelham Racquet Club being located in the city and the recreation center and greenway trails projects underway.

She said the city could also benefit from a cultural arts center.

If selected to fill the vacant spot, Bradley said she would bring with her the knowledge of how to transform a piece of land from an empty lot to a constructed business.

Tommy Johnson, a Navy veteran and Pelham business owner, said he would like to see a trade school and a business incubator, which is company that helps new and startup businesses develop by providing services such as management training or office space.

He said the now vacant school that used to be home to Valley Elementary would be the ideal place for a trade school. Although Johnson didn’t name any specific businesses that he would like to see open in the city, he said wants to see businesses come in that compliment, and not compete with, existing businesses.

As a business owner, Johnson said he brings to the table experience and knowledge about what it takes for a business to be successful. If selected for the position, Johnson said he would always be a team player.

“Whatever the majority says, you put 100 percent of your effort into doing that even if you disagree,” he said.

The third and final interviewee was Frederick Hamilton, who has 27 years of experience in community and economic development. He said he is knowledgeable about numerous federal and state programs that could help the city.

“I’m knowledgeable about resources available to the city and ways to access funding,” he said. “I have an awareness of resources that could help commercial and economic development.”

If selected to join the board, Hamilton said his first priority would be to work with the board to outline the goals of the CDA and the direction of the city. At that point, Hamilton said he would have a better idea of what type of businesses would be a good fit for Pelham.

“Having the opportunity to serve my community is important to me,” Hamilton said. “I don’t want to just live here, I want to do my civic duty by serving.”

City Council members agreed that they will likely vote on who will fill the vacancy at their Jan. 17 meeting.