Todd Aaron, president of the Bulldog Youth Athletics Association, approached the council with information and updates about some of the ballfields in the community.
“We have been doing some cleanup over at the park down here at the little league. We have painted the bleachers, cut down some tree limbs, fixed the netting up, took everything out of the concession stands [and] painted the walls white in there,” Aaron said. “I sent some guys out to the double fields to take down some power poles because they were condemned by Alabama Power.”
Mayor Pro Tem James "Jimbo" Bray, Jr. said he also asked an employee from the power company to check on the poles two weeks ago.
“He went around those posts, checking them and until he can get a bucket out there to check the tops of them, he said the bottoms of them are solid enough to last for a while. From where those were cut down, me and Mr. [Mark] Chambers saw that right in the middle of them there was a strip in both of them that was rotted, and the outside edges were good, but the power guy told me he didn’t really know until they got up there in the bucket truck and checked,” Bray said. “He said they make patch mix to put in those holes and then wrap them up with wire. ... There isn’t but one [truck] in the state of Alabama that’ll reach 90 foot; they were going to bring it out as soon as they could, but after seeing that the other day we decided we were going to take all those poles down.”
Due to the poor conditions of the power poles, Aaron said Alabama Power would not turn the lights on at the ballfields. He also said that the association is running out of venues for kids to practice at, mentioning that two teams are having to practice in the neighboring town of Kansas. Currently, there are a total of eight teams.
Another concerned parent and coach, Darrel Pate, said numbers are down from last year’s total of 150 little league players.
“The fields that you’re talking about now, the two softball fields, those fields are 34 years old. I understand that four or five years ago the president of the youth athletic association took us out from under the umbrella of the city, took our organization away from the city,” Pate said. “... We have got to work something out so that we can be under the umbrella of the city so that we can get those grants for the kids, not for me, not for you, not for anybody else but for those kids.
“We have 111 kids this year. Last year we had 150 kids. Forty of them went somewhere,” he continued. “Forty of them went to play somewhere different. I just need the city to say, ‘Hey, they’re eligible for grants, and here’s the grants.’ We need to be sending these grants to get these parks done.”
The question was asked from a member in the crowd about possibly reinstating the parks and recreation board. The council responded quickly by making a motion and approving it unanimously to reestablish the board. Applications are now available for parks and recreation board positions. Aaron and Pate asked if those applying for positions on the board had to live within the city limits. Bray, council member Terry Mason and other members said they would check into it.
In other business, council members:
•heard from the different department heads. Police chief Ron Colburn informed the council that had the alarm company contacted the police department first instead of the “keyholder” during the recent burglary at Strickland’s Pharmacy, “we would’ve had him,” Colburn said. He also mentioned a break-in at Club Pizza in January.
•approved to transfer money from the city’s alcohol fund to pay a balance of $5,200 for voting machine software. Bray said the balance was held over from the previous city council but that they now have the monies to pay it.
•heard from utilities board member Bill Hurst about 4th Ave. NE.
“Last year, I had a lot of parents who wanted to go out there because they couldn’t get up that street by the junk yard because of the vehicles parked on the side of the road,” Hurst said.
“We’re fixing to open that road back up. We’re going to take that gate down because it’s dangerous coming out onto that road to begin with,” Bray said.
Nick Keeton, owner of Poor Boy Towing, interjected by saying, “If you don’t mind, that gate was put there because, I’m part owner of the junk yard, the city would not let us bring 18-wheelers down Widows Lane. We wanted a road built at the top of the softball fields, and they [a previous mayor and council] said if you can build us a road, you can use it. We paid for the gate, we paid for the fence, we paid for the rock and we put the culvert in. That was done by Poor Boy.”
Bray said 9th Street, the road they are planning to open up again, was closed for quite some time. Keeton said that opening that road will allow more opportunities for criminals to steal from his business. Bray said it’s too dangerous for people to be coming out from the top side and it allows for better access to the ballfields.
District 2 council member Jack Dunn asked the council to increase police patrol around the area of Keeton’s business if they plan to open the road again.
•approved District 5 council member James Pendley’s resignation from the council due to health problems. The city will be accepting applications for the open seat from now until the Friday before the next council meeting.
•Council member Mark Chambers made a motion to return the street department’s clothing allowance of $10 a week for their uniforms. All members voted to pass the motion.
•Carbon Hill resident Mendi Prather asked the council if they would consider turning the old tennis courts into a parking lot for extra parking where people wouldn’t have to walk to the park and ballfields from the American Legion Post a few blocks away. The council agreed to remove the fence from the tennis courts and create a parking lot. Prather said the youth athletic association also will be having another cleanup day starting at 8 a.m. Saturday to spruce up the ballfields and any help would be appreciated.
• Bray announced a special meeting where employees of AT&T will visit the city today at 6 p.m. The meeting is open to the public and will address information about the company’s future plans. They will be taking questions from the public and may also give new information to the city that could bring more exposure to the small town.
Mason said food will be available for those who choose to attend.