Holly Pond council talks new senior center, census initiative, reopening library

Holly Pond Town Hall (Cullman Tribune file photo)

HOLLY POND, Ala. – The Town of Holly Pond is in the process of securing land near the Guy Hunt Library to build a new senior center. At its meeting Monday evening, the town council said Cullman County Economic Development provided a list of items to complete by June 19, some of which it has already completed. The council approved a resolution in favor of the project, the current budget is being planned, and Mayor Bill Oliver said he has reached out to Cullman’s state legislators for a letter of support. The council voted to go forward with hiring a consulting firm to manage the grants and an engineering architect to oversee the project (two more requirements on the list). A date and time for a public hearing on the project will be announced soon.

Oliver was also excited to announce a new 2020 Census initiative that will be taking place throughout June and July – five seniors from Holly Pond High School will spend the summer going to every house within the town limits doing door-to-door census assistance. (The Tribune will do a follow-up article about this initiative with more details.) Each student will be allowed to work whatever hours are convenient for him or her, will be provided special shirts and special identification and will be required to wear protective masks at all times while working.

Oliver said he hopes this plan will help town residents who may not be as “tech-savvy” or who may not have reliable internet connections complete the census so that the town receives as much funding as possible in the coming years.

The council also went over some guidelines for reopening the library, as well as allowing groups to rent out the senior center and the library’s conference room. Starting June 16, the Guy Hunt Library will be open four days a week instead of the usual five: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and 1-5 p.m. Wednesday and Friday. To make up for missing out on four hours of work Saturdays, the librarian will have an extra half hour both before opening and after closing each day to sanitize the building.

Certain restrictions that will be in place after opening include a reduced number of chairs and preventing the use of certain computers that are too close together. For groups that wish to rent the library’s conference room (and eventually the senior center, which is still allowing meals to be picked up but is mandated to not reopen until at least July 6), renters must sign an agreement saying they understand they must adhere to health orders regarding sanitation and distancing and they accept liability for disease outbreaks that may result from their gathering.

Before the next regular meeting, the council will hold a special meeting to go over the proposed budget for next year. During discussions about the budget plan, Oliver suggested that due to a lack of tax revenue from people not going out to shops and restaurants as much due to COVID-19 restrictions, the council should consider preparing for a 10% funding decrease.

The next regular council meeting will be Monday, July 6 at 7 p.m. in the conference room of the Guy Hunt Library.

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Heather Mann