West End Watch updates on community happenings

Published 1:45 pm Friday, August 5, 2016

Members meet in the E.M. Henry community center. (Photo by Steven Calhoun)

Members meet in the E.M. Henry community center (Photo by Steven Calhoun)


The West End Neighborhood Watch met Thursday, Aug. 4 to discuss the neighborhood garden, its school supplies giveaway, recent work on the community center and 2016 Watch dues. The agenda included speeches from two mayoral candidates and two city council candidates.

The meeting began with a prayer and a scripture. President of the Watch Jackie Baker began by thanking Chief of Police Johnny Maddox of the Clanton Police Department.

“The things that are happening around our country, they aren’t happening here,” said Baker. “We want to thank the police of Clanton for doing a great job in our community.”

Baker then gave a report on the neighborhood garden, which produced more than 50 bags of groceries for members of the community to enjoy. The Watch planted the garden in April of this year at Fountain Chapel AME church in Clanton. Volunteers from the community put in months of hard work to raise the garden. As a result, they have seen many families in need be fed.

Councilman Sammy Wilson also discussed recent work done on the E.M. Henry Community Center. Many of the people in the room had worked on the projects, some of which were done on the very room they were using that night.

Wilson said that the projects had taken longer than anticipated due to the state’s approval process. The Watch would like to finish their current projects quickly, as there are already plans for a few new developments, including a kitchen and a senior center, Wilson said.

After Wilson’s report, mayoral candidate Lee Helms spoke to those in attendance about his plans if elected.

Next, Mayor Billy Joe Driver discussed current developments in the community. He mentioned a new water pump to be used as a backup water supply and help support the new hospital, which opens Oct. 3. He also mentioned plans for new developments on a seven-acre plot of land near the 212 exit on I-65.

The mayor advocated for spending money locally to support our community. Many in attendance expressed concerns about a lack of retail stores in Clanton and a lack of developments in the West End community.

Driver responded to these concerns, citing growth coming from Birmingham down and from Montgomery up as reasons for Clanton’s slower development compared to Alabaster or Prattville.

When questioned about roads in Clanton, Driver said, “A bid has been placed on asphalt for 14th street and the ones that really need it.”

After the mayor answered a round of questions, city council candidates Awlahjaday Agee and Greg DeJarnett spoke.

Before the close of the meeting, Ernest Abercrombie, president of the Clanton NAACP, encouraged everyone to vote and outlined recent changes to the voter registration process. He urged those in attendance to fulfill their civic duty and vote.

The meeting was closed with a moment of silence and a prayer. The West End Neighborhood Watch meets the first Thursday of every month. Its next meeting is Thursday, Sept. 1 at the E.M. Henry Community Center.