Clanton council purchases part of golf course, another lot

Published 6:55 pm Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Clanton City Council voted to purchase two pieces of land at a meeting Thursday—though one of the purchases was strongly opposed by one councilmember.

The council decided to purchase 23 acres of land from the Clanton Country Club for $260,000. The land is basically what the golf course, which is facing financial woes, uses for a driving range, according to discussion at the meeting, which was moved up from March 14 because of spring break.

Though the city would own the land, councilmembers indicated the country club would continue to operate the driving range.

In voicing opposition to the purchase, councilman Jeff Price said he couldn’t justify spending that amount of money when residents have problems like potholes and streetlights that are out.

Price said the purchase will put the city in a predicament because it won’t be able to do anything with the land in the future without hurting the golf course.

“I don’t want the golf course to fail, but I don’t see how this benefits the city in any way,” Price said.

Price also disagreed with the principle of giving more money to a group—the course is owned by 26 stakeholders—that has found itself in debt.

Mayor Billy Joe Driver and councilmembers Greg DeJarnett, Bobby Easterling and Mary Mell Smith all voted for the purchase.

Price voted against it, and councilmember Bobby Cook abstained because he is a stakeholder in the course, he said.

Councilman Greg DeJarnett voiced concerns over the future of the city’s money.

“If it’s not (well managed), and you are back in here in a year or two years and I’m still on this council, I have a good, good idea for which way my mindset is going to be,” DeJarnett said to course officials attending the meeting at Clanton City Hall.

The council also voted, unanimously, to purchase about two acres of land off Second Avenue for $40,000.

The land could be used to build a recreation center similar to the one the city owns off Lay Dam Road.

In other business, the council:

•Voted to participate in the state sales tax holiday in August.

•Hired Evan Moates and Caleb Driver as part-time employees to help at City Park during the summer.

•Hired Darrell Bone, Derrick Bone, Tara Mayfield, Jessica Mims and Charlie Sanders as part-time police officers.

•Endorsed the Public Safety Technology Fund, a local initiative that, upon approval by the Alabama Legislature, would add $10 onto the cost of court fees for citations and arrests in the county for local police departments’ technology funds.

•Heard complaints about road conditions, the lack of streetlights, an ongoing sidewalk project and other issues from four Lomax residents who live on Old Henry Road, Reed Street and Carver Avenue.