Clanton Council discusses potential new downtown bank

Published 1:52 pm Tuesday, June 25, 2019

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Clanton City Council discussed the potential location of a Marion Bank at the corner of Second Avenue and Sixth Street during a meeting on June 24.

Mayor Billy Joe Driver said as a part of their internal paperwork the company contacted the Alabama Historical Commission about the building.

The Historical Commission sent back a letter stating that the building could contribute to a future application for a Historic District.

The letter from Lee Anne Wofford, deputy state historic preservation officer, states “This area of downtown Clanton is potentially eligible as a National Register historic district, and the subject property is eligible as a contributing resource due to its historic integrity. Therefore, work on this building must meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, which means that work must protect and preserve historic character and materials of the building.”

Contacting the Alabama Historical Commission was the bank’s choice, not a requirement by the City of Clanton.

Driver compared it to if the city was going to put in a new sewer line and had to get letters from different organizations stating that the project would meet required environment standards and not disturb an archeologically significant site.

“This falls under what the bank’s got to do,” Driver said. “They sent them a letter saying what they were going to do and in turn they (Historical Society) sent this letter back to them. No one on this street through here has ever gone, to my knowledge, to the Historical (Society).”

Councilman Jeffrey Price pointed out that the letter talks about future potential, not an existing historic district.

“It’s not really a historic district,” Price said.

Councilwoman Mary Mell Smith asked if this meant the bank would not be locating at the site.

Driver said the bank is working to meet some of the things the Alabama Historical Commission would like. However, the front of the building would need to be changed to have the customary drop box for after-hours deposits, Driver said.

Driver said the building has likely been remodeled several times and is not the original look anyway.

Driver said he thought Marion Bank had already purchased the building, which sits at the end of the block next to Butterfly Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center.

The mayor has talked to the bank about what they could do to work with the Alabama Historical Commission. He commented that he though the bank “could contest it.”

“If you’re not really a (Historic District), they’re just hindering progress,” Price said. “If you’re ever going to revitalize your downtown — some of it has already been changed from (looking) historical, so it’s a little too late to be making it all historical.”

“I agree,” Smith said.

“I would hate to see a bank not to get to move in,” Price said. “You know they keep the building looking nice.”

The bank will be sending a letter back to the Alabama Historical Commission about what they could do.

Also during the meeting, the need for upgrades to the city’s storm shelters was discussed. Driver said all of them need pressure washing and painting, but the West End Storm shelter needs to be reset and resealed. The company that had initially installed the storm shelters is no longer in business. The pressure washing and painting for the four storm shelters was estimated by a local company at $100,000.

There was discussion as to whether the work would need to be bid out, even though no other local companies were immediately known to do this particular type of work.

Price said digging up the West End Shelter to reset it would be the largest job. Driver said the city has a crew that could do this.

A motion to send out bids for the pressure washing, painting and resealing of the storm shelters was unanimously approved.

Also during the meeting, the Council approved:

  • Paying $23,690 for work at future Restore Therapy building in the city-owned Park Plaza.
  • Paying a bill to Thomas Oil for $29,985.
  • A bill for the water plant.
  • Transferring funds to a different line item to pay the water plant bill. Driver said he was trying to keep all of the payments coming out of the same fund.
  • The low bid from Wiregrass Construction for a road project on Lomax Road, which has been an ongoing project initially started with a grant. Driver said about $190,000 was being given to the project from the grant.
  • To reapply for a Community Development Block Grant to demolish dilapidated houses.
  • Change orders for about $5,000 on the water treatment plant project.
  • Hiring workers for the summer to cut grass.
  • Renewing a contract with the company it has used to collect sales tax with a requirement that the city gets an update on past due collections. Councilman Bobby Cook said he would like to see the company get more of the past due sales taxes paid by the companies owing. Cook said payment plans had been set up but payments were not being made. Driver said the company charges less than the state does. The contract is for three years.