Vinemont Town Hall Will Not Move to Scout House, For Now

Wendy Sack
We’re doing our best to work this thing out. We never intended for the Scouts not to have use of that building. Our idea was to share it with them.”
Vinemont Mayor J.D. Marcum

Photo shows Councilman Radginal Dodson.

VINEMONT – It has been a tumultuous two weeks in the town of South Vinemont, with emotions running high over the future of the town’s Scout building. The issue has been settled, at least for now. At tonight’s town hall meeting, ordinance 2016-01-01, which names the building as the new home of South Vinemont Town Hall and the site all municipal business and meetings, did not pass. The council vote was 3-3.

It was a full house for the meeting, with just under 30 people showing up to what many believed was going to be a showdown between concerned community members and the council. Two Cullman County Sheriff’s deputies were on-hand, as well as Cullman County Commission Chairman candidate Eric L. Parker. The meeting was peaceful, however, with minimal back-and-forth.

Girl Scout parent John Roy stood to address the council, which prompted an emotional moment from Councilman Radginal Dodson, who spoke at length about the history of the Scout House and the hours he and others put into its construction and upkeep.

“I have more ideas and (know the) realities about this than most people,” said Dodson, speaking to the amount of misinformation he and other council members said was being circulated in the community.

The town council presented both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts with new lease agreements prior to tonight’s meeting. Both groups are set to sign the agreements, after small changes are implemented by the town’s attorney.

A Girl Scout leader took the opportunity to address the council, saying, “Our main concern is our girls.” She said that her group’s fear had been that they would not have a place to meet, but that they were working to finalize the new lease agreement and had “worked through concerns with the council, and we want to stay in the building and work with the town.”

Boy Scout Leader Jim Oden told the crowd (with assistance, as Oden is recovering from an illness and has speech limitations) that he was not in favor of the new lease agreement, but that he only had two concerns. He requested a term of two years instead of one, and also wanted to make sure that the Troop’s new charter organization, Oden’s Auto Glass, was including in the lease instead of the Town of South Vinemont, the Troop’s previous charter organization.

South Vinemont Mayor J.D. Marcum agreed to work with both groups to get the changes requested incorporated.

After everyone spoke and ordinance 2016-01-01 was finally put to a vote, a vote that was hotly debated in the community and on social media over the last two weeks, the ordinance did not pass. With little fanfare, council members cast their votes and were evenly split, 3-3.  Two members who supported the move in last month’s preliminary vote this month changed their minds.

The “Scout House,” as it’s been known in the community for more than 20 years, is located at 88 Ridgeway St. It is home to Boy Scout Troop 227, Cub Scout Pack 227 and Girl Scout Troop 10288. It is a large, log cabin-type structure that was built by Scout volunteers with purchased and donated materials on property belonging to the Town of South Vinemont. Through the original agreement, the building also belongs to the town. Its official name is the Cary C. Montgomery Scout Community Center. It is named in honor of long-time Troop 227 former Scoutmaster and current Committee Chair Cary Montgomery.

Marcum has said that the reasons behind wanting to move are that the Scout House will provide more room and is handicap-accessible, where the current town hall is not. Marcum also said the town would then lease the current town hall in an effort to bring in money.

The Town of South Vinemont was the charter organization for the Scouts up until Nov. 10, 2015, when, after 22 years, the council passed Resolution No. 2015-11-10-01, severing ties with both the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, effective Dec. 31, 2015. Oden’s Glass is the new charter organization.

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Vinemont Town Hall Will Not Move to Scout House, For Now

VINEMONT – It has been a tumultuous few weeks in the town of South Vinemont, with emotions running high over the future of the town's Scout building. The issue has been settled, at least for now.