County manager notes park additions, tax revenues in 2022 overview
Published 3:48 pm Wednesday, January 26, 2022
By EMILY SPARACINO | Staff Writer
New park projects, higher sales tax revenues and a healthy housing market are among various factors contributing to a strong start to 2022 in Shelby County.
Despite challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has presented over the past two years, Shelby County Manager Chad Scroggins is looking forward to a prosperous year in the county.
“To be conservative, knowing we have these two anomaly years with the pandemic, we budgeted our revenues and our expenses for 2022 based on FY 2019 numbers,” Scroggins said of the county’s $150 million budget, which includes $21 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds from the federal government. “That way, we were really looking at something that is more steady and not COVID impacted.”
In Shelby County, home sales, resales and new construction are on the rise, as are sales tax revenues.
“People have been spending the federal income monies that have come to them personally,” Scroggins said. “We’ve seen sales tax revenues higher than what we expected. We anticipate it to be a very strong year.”
With that cautious optimism, the county is pressing forward with various projects, many of which relate to parks and recreation and public safety.
“We are actively trying to incentivize and strengthen our emergency medical services response throughout the county,” Scroggins said, noting efforts to increase the capacity and coverage of the county’s radio system for first responders. When we look at quality of life, we look at public safely with how we respond to emergencies when they occur.”
Multiple park projects across the county will offer residents more options and upgraded amenities related to outdoor recreation.
Dunnavant Valley Park and Double Oak Park, two new parks off the U.S. 280 corridor, are nearing completion.
“We’re excited about being able to open a public offering in that area,” Scroggins said.
Dunnavant Valley Park is located on 10 acres of property on Shelby County 41, about 2 miles from U.S. 280 at the old Mt Laurel Organic Garden site directly across from Dunnavant Place.
Visitors will be able to hike, bike and fish at Dunnavant Valley Park, and children will have access to a playground.
Work is wrapping up on the restrooms, and playground equipment are being installed.
Trails in Dunnavant Valley Park will connect to Double Oak Park, which is accessible from Shelby County 43.
Double Oak Park will feature nearly 15 miles of trails, with a mixture of double-track roads and single-track hiking and biking rails, Scroggins said.
Other improvement projects are slated for Lee Springs Park in Helena, Veterans Park in Alabaster, Chelsea’s Highway 39 park, Vincent’s rec fields and Cahaba River Park in Helena.
Scroggins said the county is also working with FEMA to add more storm shelters as a result of the tornadoes that heavily damaged local communities in March 2021.
Other significant projects include a waterline expansion from Chelsea to Harpersville and the formation of a new comprehensive plan for Shelby County.
The results of a public survey, available for viewing at Planshelbyal.com, revealed a high demand for public access and recreational space, Scroggins said.
“The comprehensive plan gives us a development plan and a guideline for the Planning Commission and County Commission, a pathway for investment and budgeting going forward,” Scroggins said. “The outcome will be beneficial for many years to come. We’re excited about getting that underway.”
Scroggins said the county remains ready to help municipalities with their projects and goals in the coming months and years.
“We’re continuing to look at ways to improve the quality of life in the county, in any and every aspect,” he said. “It’s always a general goal of ours to provide excellent customer service to our residents and to improve the quality of life.”