By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
PINSON — A rezoning vote by the Pinson City Council is the first step in a new main station for the Palmerdale Fire District.
The council approved changing the zoning at 7076 Arnold Lane from RR to CI, or community institutional, in their regular meeting Thursday night. The parcel is just off Alabama 79 near Agape Baptist Church, about a mile north of Rudd Middle School.
The property is being sold to the fire district, where Chief Jason Howell says they will build a new station that will also house the district's headquarters office.
“It will be our flagship station,” Howell told the council. “It's an ideal location for us. We're really excited about it.”
Palmerdale Fire currently has two stations. At one time there were three, but the department had to shutter one because of circumstances beyond the district's control, Howell said.
The 2-acre tract of land will cost $24,900 plus attorneys fees and closing costs, according to PFD board member Grant Mitchell, who asked after the zoning change that the council consider purchasing the land for them. The district could borrow the money, Mitchell said, but it would have to come out of operating costs.
“That would take a huge load off of me in trying to figure out where to make cuts elsewhere,” Howell said.
Mayor Hoyt Sanders said that he would consider the request after looking over the city's financial numbers at the end of March.
If everything goes as planned, the district hopes to have the new station in operation by the first part of 2015, Howell said.
Pinson is served by Palmerdale Fire in roughly the northern half of the city, with Center Point Fire District serving the southern half. The dividing line falls mainly along Turkey Creek.
The council also voted to begin plans for a bicentennial festival in 2015, to mark the 200th anniversary of the settlement that eventually became Pinson. The area was settled by soldiers returning from the Battle of Horseshoe Bend near Dadeville in 1814, in which troops commanded by then-Col. Andrew Jackson defeated the Creek Indians.
Councilman Joe Cochran announced that he had been working with Pinson Valley High School athletic director and head football coach Matt Glover on a project that would replace the natural grass surface of the football field with artificial turf.
“The field is used by varsity and freshman football, Rudd [football], boys and girls soccer and the band,” Cochran said. “It's in use about 245 days a year, and it's in rough shape. Unlike other [Class] 6A schools in the county, we don't have a practice field.”
Cochran, who is a candidate in the State Senate District 17 race, said that the artificial turf would cost between $500,000 and $600,000. It would also permit the Pinson Valley Youth Association to play its games on the field. Cochran said he hoped that the city would be able to cover at least part of that cost.
In other business, the council: