Calera showcases plan for new Main Street playground, police present program

Published 10:30 am Friday, February 23, 2024

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CALERA – On Monday, Feb. 19, Calera City Council unveiled the master plan for a new playground on Main Street. The government of Shelby County has agreed to cover 50 percent of costs for the playground, up to $225,000, and construction is tentatively set for the end of April. 

The playground will feature a wheelchair accessible primary playground structure, multipurpose pavement areas and a pickleball court. Just steps away from the pavilion and in walking distance from many of the shops, it is the hope of Calera Main Street’s Executive Director Jackie Batson that traffic for the playground will boost local businesses and provide a setting for fun family outings.

“People are going to come down and play at that playground, therefore, they’re going to get a cup of coffee. They’re going to buy a gift. They’re going to get ice cream. Hopefully, there will be restaurants where they can grab a meal and sit under the pavilion and eat,” Batson said. “I think it’s really going to help us finish out downtown.” 

The playground is one of the many projects to improve Main Street, spearheaded by the Calera Main Street organization. According to Batson, the community has railed to accomplish some incredible work.  

“It’s really tremendous when you look at the private investment and the public investment,” Batson said. “Over six million dollars has been put in downtown, so we’re very excited about that.” 

Upon approving the initial plan for the playground, Councilmember Kay Snowden Turner thanked all involved in the project for their dedication to the city of Calera. 

“Everything looks really good,” Turner said. “We want to thank everyone for all they’ve done to accomplish this for downtown main street. We’re grateful for all the progress.” 

At the same city council meeting, Chief of Police David Hyche presented an opportunity offered to the Calera Police Department to take part in an experimental program to test inventory software. 

According to Hyche, the police department currently keeps track of all of their inventory on paper. With a police department the size of the CPD, this can create problems with equipment past their expiration date. 

“When I first got here, much of our mace, the pepper spray, was expired,” Hyche said. “That’s a liability concern. We just didn’t know. With this software, we can put in the expiration date for items… and we’ll be able to keep track of it.” 

As part of one of five police departments to test this software, the CPD will not be charged for this program for the first year of use. The cost for the second fiscal year is $500, increasing to $1,000 for the third year. The estimated price after that is between $1,000 and $1,500.

In addition to approving the use of this experimental software, the Calera Police Department also adopted new police policies. 

Hyche shared that these policy updates are modified to suit the needs of the CPD. 

“The bulk of the modifications are semantics,” Hyche said. “We’re having to correct terminology.”