Montevallo mayor shares updates in State of the City address

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer 

MONTEVALLO – Those who attended the Montevallo Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Jan. 22 heard an update from Mayor Hollie Cost on the city as a whole and each of its departments.

In her annual State of the City address, Cost shared highlights and ongoing efforts in Public Health and Safety; Education, Arts and Public Outreach; Public Works; Recreation, Preservation and Community Development; Economic Development; and the Mayor’s Office.

“Every year, we get stronger,” Cost said. “We’re doing a lot of things right here. Thanks for making Montevallo what it is.”

In Public Health and Safety, Cost said the police department is fully staffed, has added one patrol unit per shift and contributes to Montevallo being ranked as the 11th safest city in the state.

The fire department welcomed Brad Davis as its new chief following Bill Reid’s retirement in October.

In Education, Arts and Public Outreach, the Montevallo Junior City Council spearheaded Moonlight Movies and a toy drive for Shelby Emergency Assistance, and members volunteered at city events.

The Parnell Memorial Library logged 37,000 visits in 2019, secured more than $23,000 in grant funding, hosted 202 library programs (26 of which were non-English based programs) and welcomed Savannah Kitchens as the new director.

The 2019 Tinglewood Festival drew about 6,000 people to Orr Park for live chainsaw carving demonstrations, live music and numerous vendors.

In Public Works, the city hired Olivia Barone as sustainability coordinator in November, created a sidewalk priority plan, completed the third phase of paving and moved forward with Main Street and veterans’ banner programs.

In Recreation, Preservation and Community Development, Cost said travel tournaments doubled in the spring and fall; new covered batting cages were approved at Stephens Park; and Shoal Creek Park’s grand opening took place during Love Montevallo Day in March.

Through Impact Montevallo, the city was awarded a Drug-Free Communities Support Program grant worth $125,000 a year for five years.

Montevallo Main Street recorded more than 2,500 volunteer hours, $300,000 spent in façade and interior renovations, a net gain of five businesses and five Main Street Alabama awards.

Regarding city finances, revenue increases included $370,000 – sales tax, $20,000 – business licenses, $20,000 – franchise fees and $7,000 – property taxes. The city purchased the former Victory Autos & Collision Center property for $375,000.

The city maintains partnerships with the Montevallo Chamber of Commerce, University of Montevallo, Kettering Foundation, National League of Cities, The Shelby County Chamber, Shelby County, David Mathews Center, Equal Justice Initiative, Women’s Fund and 58 INC.

Montevallo hosted the Just Show Up Show, sponsored by Dr. Bobby Shunnarah at Montevallo Family Dentistry, which featured award-winning artists Alessia Cara and Echosmith in a three-hour performance for about 4,000 people in Orr Park on Aug. 1.

Hometown Hero and Excellence in Education awards were presented to deserving recipients at the 10th Annual Mayor’s Breakfast in October.

Cost said priorities for her office in the coming months include the city’s comprehensive plan update, youth engagement, installation of an Equal Justice Initiative historical marker, increasing senior programming, expanding accessibility and walkability throughout town, drug use prevention and continued economic development.

“Inclusivity and civic engagement is incredibly important to us,” she added. “We want to make the community accessible to everyone.”