/Council approves Orr Park improvements at busy meeting 
Graphic by Laryssa Molina-Becerra, Graphic designer.

Council approves Orr Park improvements at busy meeting 

By Cady Inabinett, Editor in chief 

The Montevallo City Council had a busy meeting on Oct. 23, holding a public hearing as well as voting on seven measures. 

Two of the seven measures the council voted on related to infrastructure improvements at Orr Park. The council voted unanimously in favor of the Montevallo Development Cooperative District using some of its funds to construct new restrooms at the park as well as make repairs to the park’s pavilion and gazebo.  

To help finance these projects, MDCD is applying for two Shelby County Parks and Recreation Grants. If received, these grants would cover half of the costs for each project. This means that MDCD would only have to spend $85,000 on the restroom project—estimated to cost a total of $170,000—and $9,500 on the pavilion and gazebo repair project—estimated to cost a total of $19,000. 

Another measure the council voted on pertained to the Montevallo African American Heritage Trail. The council unanimously approved two new historic markers for the trail. These markers will be placed at the Mason Hall located on Commerce Street and at the Little School in Jacksonville—a schoolhouse located in what used to be the predominantly Black neighborhood of Jacksonville—located on Island Street.  

After some brief discussion, the council voted to opt into a state-backed initiative giving a one-time $600 payment to any former city employee who retired prior to March 2022. These payments will cost the city $5,020.  

Discussion about this measure centered around where funds for these payments would come from. The funds were set to be derived from the city’s American Rescue Plan funds, which council member Sonya Swords questioned. 

“If we keep taking out of ARPA, then we don’t have our funds for big projects,” Swords said. 

City clerk Steve Gilbert responded by saying that the city had decided to pull funds from the ARPA account because they had used that account to fund similar measures before. He pointed out that these funds could be derived from the city’s general budget, however, and that the council just needed to indicate which account they would like to draw from when they voted. 

Ultimately, the council did not make any changes to the source for the funds and voted unanimously in favor of the payments. 

Revisiting a topic from last meeting, the council voted unanimously to grant Yellowhammer Networks, LLC the right to construct, maintain and operate a fiber optic network within Montevallo city limits in order to provide internet and related services to Montevallo residents. At its previous meeting, the council was visited by Yellowhammer Networks’ CEO, George Henry. 

In addition to voting on these measures, the council held a public hearing relating to a petition to annex a six-acre parcel of land located on Spring Creek Road into Montevallo city limits. 

Gilbert pointed out that there are two pieces of property on either side of this parcel that are already incorporated into the city, “and this one is kind of sandwiched in the middle and not incorporated.” 

The landowner was not present at the meeting to discuss annexation. No one present at the meeting voiced any objection to incorporation either. 

The city will vote on incorporating the land at their next meeting.  

The next city council meeting will be held Monday, Nov. 13, at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at City Hall and livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page.

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Cady Inabinett is the editor in chief of The Alabamian. She’s majoring in English and double-minoring in political science and peace and justice studies. She enjoys reading, watching movies, caring for houseplants and generally just being pretentious in her free time.