Executive Director of the center Lila Sears said the center opened last August and has served approximately 50 area children since that time. The center provides forensic interviews for children who have been victims of sexual or severe physical abuse or who have witnessed a violent crime. These interviews assist law enforcement in determining if abuse has occurred and can be used in court in many cases. The center is also beginning to provide counseling services for those children who have been victims or traumatized by events.
Sears and Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair both discussed the progress of the center as well as the need for continued support from the community.
Last year, Sumiton’s council was asked to donate $2,500 to help get the center off the ground, but ultimately decided to donate $5,000 after hearing about the services that would be provided.
“I feel like when a city or any agency provides us with funding, then we owe it to that city or that group to give a report back as to what we are doing with the money they have given us,” Sears said.
“The city has stepped up, probably more than any other community in the county,” Adair said. “I appreciate your willingness as a group to do that. It speaks volumes about how progressive y’all are out here.”
Adair also thanked the city for their donation and asked that they consider donating that amount again this year.
Mayor Petey Ellis said he was certain the city would be able to renew its support for the center.
“I think when you’re dealing with the kids of the county anywhere, that’s got to be a priority in your community, whether it be in the athletic programs or the criminal programs,” Ellis said. “Whatever happens, they don’t need to be shuffled off somewhere in an unfamiliar environment.”
In other business, the council:
•approved ordinances introduced at the last meeting to surplus old vehicles and allow them to be sold for scrap and to allow Ellis to enter into an agreement with the state for the city to cut the medians on Highway 78.
•agreed to allow someone to remove and scrap the pipes and other materials from the old water station.
The city will receive half of the proceeds from the sale of the materials.
•approved a proposed zoning change to allow a property that is currently zoned for agricultural use to a B1 classification to house a sign warehouse, after it is sold to the business owner.
The property is being rezoned for that use only.
The change was recommended by the city’s planning and zoning committee.