/City Council approves storm shelter
City Council in gold letters on purple backgroundGraphic by Bell Jackson

City Council approves storm shelter

By Cady Inabinett 

Montevallo citizens will have new places to take shelter during severe storms, as the City Council approved the construction of two new storm shelters at their meeting on May 24. 

The council accepted a bid from Harbor Enterprises LLC for the construction of a storm shelter located in Stephens Park. The city received two bids for this project—from Harbor Enterprises LLC and Williford Orman Construction Company, with Harbor submitting the lowest bid at $102, 134—the cost of construction for the shelter.  

The storm shelter is expected to be able to hold 96 people, as well as be equipped with emergency lighting, a back-up generator, and two restrooms— “One of which will be ADA compliant,” according to City Engineer Matthew Burgess. Burgess added that the structure, “would be compliant with any FEMA specification out there.” 

The council also approved an agreement with the Shelby County Board of Education to utilize land currently owned by the Shelby County Board of Education to build another storm shelter. The land in question is located behind Montevallo Fire Station 1, off of Main Street, and the proposed shelter would have the same construction specifications as the shelter being built in Stephens Park.  

There is no set date for the completion of either of these projects, but Burgess said that the shelter located in Stephens Park should be complete by early fall, saying, “it should be in by hurricane season.”  

The council also accepted the transfer of the title of a 2013 Ford Econoline passenger van formerly owned by the Shelby County Commission. Transferring the title made the van property of the City of Montevallo and added it to the city’s insurance. When asked what the city plans to use the van for, Mayor Rusty Nix said it would be used to shuttle people from parking to event sites at certain city events. City Clerk Steve Gilbert added that the van could be used for tours for visitors to the city and, “would be available for other community groups and organizations. We would just have to have a city employee drive the van, we couldn’t lease it out to anyone else.” 

Montevallo resident Chris Nelson addressed the council about the Brierfield prison project during the meeting– telling the council that volunteers have been going door to door in Montevallo neighborhoods over the past week, specifically neighborhoods located in Districts 2 and 4. Volunteers have been focusing on canvassing in those districts because they are represented by Council Members Leila Mitchell and Sonya Swords, respectively; both of whom serve on the Montevallo Water Works and Sewer Board. MWWSB has approved a Will Serve request letter saying they would consider supplying water and sewer services to the prison—an issue that Nelson addressed at the prior two city council meetings. 

Nelson said that canvassing volunteers aim to notify Mitchell’s and Swords’ constituents, “of their service on the Montevallo Water Works Board and their affirmative vote to approve the Will Serve request letter to consider supplying water and sewer service to the prison project,” as well as, “Encourage them to contact their city council person, the mayor’s office, their state and house and senate representatives and, also the governor’s office to express their concerns, if they have any, about the proposed mega-prison project.” 

He went on to say that volunteers in Montevallo are, “working with some groups that are opposed to any expansion of prison facilities in Alabama,” and that volunteers “across the state” will be continuing to canvas in Montevallo, Tallasee, Mobile and Atmore—cities that are located near proposed prison sites.  

The next City Council meeting will be held Monday, June 14, at 6:00 p.m. The meeting will be livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page. Citizens may also attend the meeting in person at City Hall. 

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Cady Inabinett is a writer for The Alabamian. She’s a freshman English major and enjoys reading, watching movies, and generally just being pretentious in her free time.