Hanceville mulls city pool, Hopewell annexations


Mayor Kenneth Nail introduced Halee Pitts (left, with Councilwoman Sharon Porter), a civil engineer employed at Redstone Arsenal, as the newest member of Hanceville’s Planning Commission. / W.C. Mann

HANCEVILLE – At its regular meeting Thursday evening, the Hanceville City Council had a full slate, from annexation to zoning and many topics in between.

A major topic was the city pool, which was found to be infested with black algae at the end of its 2017 operating season despite having received extensive (and expensive) treatment for that very condition before the start of the season.

According to information received by the council, pool water seeping through the inner pool liner and settling between the liner and underlying structural layers in the approximately 40-year old pool was causing the condition to recur.  The use of strong chemicals to treat previous occurrences has caused the liner to degrade.  Estimates for repair and relining of the pool ran around $70,000.

The council is currently considering the possibility of filling in the pool and replacing it with a splash pad that would allow children to play in water, but with lower maintenance and liability costs.

Of the pool, Mayor Kenneth Nail said, “If we went with a splash pad and done away with the pool, you wouldn’t have to have lifeguards, so you’d save quite a bit of money.  And to be honest with you, that pool every year has been nothing but a money pit, every year.  We never break even.

“And I hate that, because there’s a lot of poor children in this area that can’t afford to go to the (Cullman) Aquatic Center. So I think the council’s really struggling with trying to figure out what to do about that.”

As the council considered what to do, a proposal was brought to the mayor to apply for a $300,000 50/50 grant, requiring $150,000 from the City, to fund the construction of a splash pad.  Council members agreed that they did not want to invest that much money, as initial construction estimates for what the council is wanting have been much lower than even the 50 percent that the City would have to put up.  The proposal received no action.

In other business, the council voted to participate in the state’s severe weather preparedness sales tax holiday Feb. 23-25, 2018 by relinquishing its half-cent sales tax on certain items related to emergency preparation, including flashlights, lanterns, battery-powered or hand-crank radios, batteries, first-aid kits, cell phone chargers, two-way radios, manual can openers, tarps and plastic sheeting, duct tape, fire extinguishers, tie-down kits, bungee cords or rope, coolers, ice packs, plywood, window film, smoke/fire/carbon monoxide detectors, portable generators and power cords.

The council gave its first reading to proposed ordinances to annex Hopewell Baptist Church and Hopewell Cemetery into the city.  As these were first readings only, no action was taken.  Council members did set a public hearing for 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 11, 2018 to consider zoning ordinances about the two locations that had also received their first readings at this meeting.

During the work session prior to the council meeting, Wallace State Americorps staffers Hannah Kren and Heather McAfee introduced the council to the plan for the college’s proposed community garden that will serve the food needs of needy students and area residents.  (Look for a separate story on this.)

Hanceville Civitan Club President Rick Cason came forward to thank the council, and to commend the city police and fire departments for their service during the recent Cullman County Christmas Parade.

Nail reported that the recent audit of the City showed no issues.

Councilman Charles Wilson reported that the Hanceville Quarterback Club will, for the next two Saturdays, continue its turkey shoots, which were highly successful fundraisers leading up to and including Thanksgiving Day.  Events will begin at 8 a.m. each Saturday in the field just south of Domino’s near Johnson’s Crossing.

Due to the Christmas/New Year’s holiday, the Hanceville council’s second December meeting has been rescheduled to Thursday, Dec. 21 at 6:30 p.m., with work session at 6 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

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