The Montevallo City Council met Monday, Sept. 28, 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.
One of the main topics of discussion was the acceptance of a capital project financing bid. This capital project was also a topic of discussion in the previous council meeting on Sept. 14, with several citizens bringing forward concerns about the impacts financing such a project would have on the city’s economic situation. This project would include the development of a hotel and brewery in town. The council’s discussion focused on approving funding for this project by agreeing to a loan with United Bank $2.05 million.
Disagreement arose between current mayor, Dr. Hollie Cost, and mayor-elect, Rusty Nix. Nix brought forward concerns over the location slated to be developed into the brewery, an old building in the Montevallo Historic District that would require significant renovations, instead proposing that a new structure is built instead of trying to renovate an old building that could potentially present structural problems later.
Nix also suggested using the building to house some other project saying, “I think a brewery would be great here in town, but it just doesn’t fit that building as far as square footage and the price that we’re paying for the amount of sales revenue that you’d get back.”
Nix also expressed concern over the transition of the project between administrations, saying that it’s “a big project to take on right at the end of one administration going out and a new administration coming,” and that it’s not, “fair to saddle the new administration with that right off the bat.”
Cost responded to these statements by pointing out that this project has been worked on “collaboratively for several years now.”
Cost also claimed that if the council were to vote against the funding for this project, it would be difficult to get on track with a similar development project quickly.
“It has taken us this long to get this far, and, if we were to walk away from this, then I have every confidence that it will take equally as long to get another hotel developer on the line and to convince another hotel developer and another brewery to invest in our city,” said Cost.
The council passed the motion approving the financing for the project, with Nix being the only member to vote against it. Cost called the motion, “something to celebrate,” and hopes “this is received in the spirit it was intended.”
The council also discussed purchasing security camera systems to be installed in Shoal Creek Park and Orr Park, as well as at the city’s recycling center. The purchase of the camera system would cost $14,069—with these funds being drawn from the ALDOT project account.
The installation of the cameras could work to deter vandals at the parks and illegal dumping at the recycling center. There have been previous troubles with these two issues—with restrooms at Shoal Creek Park and Orr Park being vandalized several times, costing a total of $14,000 in repairs. The motion to install these camera systems passed unanimously.
The next City Council meeting will be held Monday, Oct. 12, 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.