By Cady Inabinett, Managing editor of content
The Montevallo City Council voted to establish the Montevallo African American Heritage Trail at their Aug. 22 meeting, with all but two members voting in favor the project.
The Montevallo African American Heritage Trail has been an on-going project for the Montevallo Historic Preservation Commission. The project aims to highlight sites significant to African American history in Montevallo by placing historic markers at those sites as well as share information about African American history in the city.
Dr. Kathy King, chair of the Historic Commission, emphasized to the council that the resolution they were voting on was just a beginning stage of the project, saying, “The proposal is preliminary and one of the things we like about it is that we can slot new sites in as we have money, time, energy, research and knowledge.”
Some council members seemed enthusiastic about the project. Council member Kenny Dukes described the plan presented to the council as “absolutely perfect,” while member Lelia Mitchell asked King about adding other sites to the trail.
Other members showed hesitation, however. Council member Martha Eisenberg asked King if each landowner of sites that trail signage would be placed on had been asked for permission. King said that some, but not all, had already been asked before reemphasizing that the council was voting on a preliminary plan and said the first step after approval would be to seek permission from landowners.
Eisenberg also raised concerns about signage being placed on the property of Montevallo Middle School, which was previously Prentice High School—a segregated high school for Black students in Montevallo. Dukes responded to these concerns by saying that that site was one of the first added to the trail and that the school system embraced the idea.
Eisenberg went on to vote against the project along with council member Sonya Swords.
After the vote, King thanked the council and her co-researcher Anika Stewart Sims, going on to say, “A lot of really interesting, important stuff is going to come out of the work on this heritage trail. The markers are the least of it.”
“This is an exercise in education and awareness. And I think the city is going to be very grateful for what we’re able to present,” she concluded.
In addition to voting on the African American Heritage Trail project, the council voted on several other issues. This included a unanimous vote to waive vendor fees for the annual Tinglewood Festival on Sept. 10. Mayor Rusty Nix pointed out that this is an action the council usually takes.
The council also voted to recycle 10 used iPhones. The phones, which have been used by city employees and used to livestream city council meetings, are outdate and have battery life issues. City Clerk Steve Gilbert pointed out the recycling company pays for each phone received and that the funds from those sales can be used to replace city employee’s outdated phones.
The next City Council meeting will be held Monday, Sept. 12, at 6 p.m. The meeting will be livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page. Those interested may also attend the meeting in person at City Hall.
Cady Inabinett is the managing editor of content for The Alabamian. She’s majoring in English and double-minoring in political science and peace and justice studies. She enjoys reading, watching movies and generally just being pretentious in her free time.