/City council hears concerns over Brierfield prison and approves NAACP march
City Council in gold letters on purple backgroundGraphic by Bell Jackson

City council hears concerns over Brierfield prison and approves NAACP march

The Montevallo City Council met Monday, Nov. 9, for their regularly scheduled, biweekly meeting. The Council met to discuss the set agenda topic as well as field the concerns of citizens who chose to attend the meeting. The Council met both in-person and via Zoom, with the meeting livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page. 

The council was addressed by citizen Chris Nelson concerning Governor Kay Ivey’s administration’s plans to build a prison in nearby Brierfield.  

The proposed prison would use a public-private partnership model, meaning that private developers would finance and maintain the prison and lease it to the state. This means that plans to build the prison would not require legislative approval. This model has also impacted the public’s ability to access information about the project—Nelson pointed out that residents of Brierfield had no prior warning about Ivey’s plans to construct a prison until the project was announced on Sept. 3.  

Nelson also emphasized how this project could impact the city of Montevallo—the project could lead to increased traffic density through the city. Additionally, connecting the prison to a water and sewer system could have a significant environmental impact on the area. Nelson requested that Montevallo joins other cities in the area to approach the state about releasing documents and information about the project, and said, “any traffic studies, environmental impact statements, public safety concerns and comment form landowner or residents should be made generally available.”  

Additionally, the council was approached by citizen Bobby Pearson on behalf of the Shelby County NAACP. Pearson asked for the council’s permission for the Shelby County NAACP to host a march through downtown Montevallo and an event at Montevallo High School to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday on Jan. 18. The council would go on to approve this event later in the meeting. 

The council also revisited the previous debate over adopting Ordinance 11232020-301 Chapter 4 Article II, which would enforce stricter animal welfare laws within the city. This ordinance was first discussed prior to the current city council’s induction.  Several council members voiced concerns that the current ordinance would create laws that were too strict, with councilmen Kenneth Dukes saying, “I do think there should be some standard,” but that he, ultimately, believes that the proposed ordinance would be too strict. Mayor Rusty Nix also agreed with this sentiment. Council member Sonya Swords motioned to pass the ordinance, but the council failed to second this motion; killing the motion and the ordinance.  

The next City Council meeting will be held Monday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m. The meeting will be livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page. Citizens may also attend the meeting in person at City Hall, however there will be limited seating and social distancing protocols put in place. 

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