District 4 council member Mark Chambers brought the discussion about the splash pad before the council after he and utilities board member Bill Hurst spoke with Jason Adkins, superintendent of the Walker County Schools System, at a board meeting prior to the city council meeting Thursday night.
During the previous board administration prior to Adkins becoming superintendent, Adkins said there was supposedly confusion as to who owned the property that the splash pad was built on. The splash pad sits at the site where the former Carbon Hill elementary and junior high schools were located. And, up until Thursday’s meeting, the board of education still owned that property.
However, Chambers said once the city showed interest in wanting to own the property, Adkins didn’t mind transferring the property to the city.
“Me and Bill Hurst went to the board of education meeting today, and we got the property up there at the elementary given back to the citizens. I would really like to thank Bill; he did most of the talking,” Chambers said. “He did a good job down there, and I sure appreciate him going with me today. We finally got that land to be put back in our name, and we’ll be able to go forward with the storm shelter up there and be able to reopen the splash pad.”
Chambers added that once the city is able to make an appointment with attorney Brent Harvey, draw up the papers and have it surveyed, they will then have it signed over within the same day. However, because of concerns with liabilities, the city will not open the splash pad until the “deed is in hand.” The city will also have to check on the equipment and make sure everything is running correctly before reopening the splash pad.
Also, some council members were under the impression that the city was receiving two storm shelters, but Mayor James “Pee Wee” Richardson said it will only be getting one.
“The last administration said we couldn’t afford but one, and one was done away with. ... It will go on the school property as soon as we get the deed to it,” Richardson said. “We’ve been working with the board of education for a while on this, and Mark [and Hurst] finally got an answer on it today.”
In other business, the council:
•approved the minutes of the May 19 special-called meeting and May 27 meeting.
•heard from the police, fire and street department heads.
Police Chief Jason Richardson requested the council to consider making part-time officer Jonnathan Yerby a full-time officer to take the place of Sgt. Tim Walter, who had recently turned in his resignation, effective Saturday. The police department had made 15 arrests and served 129 tickets since the last council meeting.
Council members also mentioned the problem of full-time officers taking police vehicles home and using more gasoline than necessary when they do not live close to the police department.
The issue will be discussed in more detail during Monday night’s financial meeting.
Fire chief Buddy Smith asked the council about replacing monitors, a fire door and a radio duplex at the old junior high school that was struck by lightning. The council passed a motion allowing Smith to be in charge of contacting a company to come out, take a look at it and try to repair it.
The council voted to begin looking at prices for a new garbage truck after street department head Alan May said the city would need one before much longer.
•passed a motion to put chief Richardson in charge of all the police, dispatchers and jail. Mayor Richardson and Chambers abstained from the vote.
•voted to place Diane Welch in one of the vacant seats on the industrial board.
•voted to tear down the old city barn 10 days from Thursday night’s meeting.
•heard from concerned volunteer firefighter Phillip Howard about the old junior high gymnasium. Howard said he has been seeing a lot of activity going on in and around the gym at all hours of the night.
“My biggest suggestion is you better secure that thing. I walk at 5 o’clock in the morning, and the other morning there were kids coming in and out. They had knocked the windows out and had been in there all night long and had left the lights on,” Howard said. “It’s nothing unusual to see them in there at 5 o’clock in the morning. Y’all are going to have to do some serious securing up there because there’s some stuff really going on up there at night.”
Richardson said they would have the police department look into the matter and try to have the doors secured as well.
•heard where plans have been drawn to replace the tennis courts with a stage area, similar to the stage at the park in Kansas, and a parking lot.
•heard from a concerned resident about a property on Widows Lane being an eyesore in the community.
The council said they would look at the legalities of it and see what they can do to take care of that particular situation and future situations.
The city is currently taking applications for the District 3 seat on the council and for the Park and Recreation Board for anyone interested in serving.
To apply, see City Clerk Janice Pendley at city hall, located at 170 NW 2nd St.
The city will have a financial meeting Monday, June 16, at 6 p.m.