Town hall meeting to address closed Head Start Center

Published 3:57 pm Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A town hall meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on May 15 in the West End Church of Christ Fellowship Hall regarding the E.M. Henry Head Start Center.

The center was closed in February because of fire code violations, and city officials have sought a plan to perform the work necessary to re-open the facility.

The town hall meeting was announced by Councilman Greg DeJarnett at Monday’s Clanton City Council meeting. DeJarnett said the meeting is intended to provide an update on the situation and clear the air of unfounded rumors that had been circulating.

Mayor Billy Joe Driver told the council that an architect had presented a tentative drawing of the building and planned to tour the facility on Tuesday to make a list of all the work that needs to be done to bring it up to code.

“We want to do everything we can to save the building,” Driver said. “It’s a well-built building.”

Local native Elizabeth Huntley with the Alabama School Readiness Alliance addressed the council about the importance of pre-K programs like the one operated out of the E.M. Henry Head Start Center.

“I just came here to thank you as a citizen for the work you’re doing to try to get this re-opened,” Huntley said. “This is something that works. These kids that go to a quality pre-K program start school ready to learn.

“I’m proud that the city is committed to this.”

In other business, the council:

•Voted to participate in the back-to-school sales tax holiday scheduled for Aug. 1-3.

•Changed the date of the next meeting to May 27, still at 5 p.m. The next meeting was previously scheduled for May 26, which is Memorial Day.

•Agreed to allow Streets and Sanitation Department Superintendent Dale Collins to purchase a Bush Hog mower for the international bid price of about $29,000.

•Granted a 90-day leave of absence to a Clanton Police Department employee who suffered from a stroke. The leave was necessary as the officer rehabilitates.

•Agreed to enter into an agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation for maintenance of state highway rights-of-way that are within city limits. The city will continue to mow vegetation and pick up litter; the state simply requested to have a formal agreement in place.

•Approved the hires of three part-time employees (Derock Campbell, Tyler Cleckler and Devin Morris) for summer help in the sanitation department. Also, Tyler Maddox was approved as a part-time summer employee to replace Avery McCarley in the parks department, after McCarley took another job. Caleb Bryant Smith was hired full-time in the parks department effective May 17.

•Approved the minutes for the April 28 meeting, and paying necessary bills.