Jemison Council plans tennis court improvements

Published 11:46 am Tuesday, August 6, 2019

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Jemison City Council discussed the state of the Jemison City Park tennis courts and the need for resurfacing during its meeting on Aug. 5.

Mayor Eddie Reed said there was a spring under the courts and a permanent solution needed to be found to keep the water from cracking the surface.

Reed said the city does plan to have an engineer develop a permanent solution to fix the issues with the tennis courts.

“It is an expensive proposition,” Reed said. “However, it has to be done … None of the councilmen want to see our students leave to play in another city because we don’t have the facilities.”

Reed said the courts were built in 1978 and this would be the third time that the playing surface was in need of repair.

Reed said he had discussed the need with Chilton County Schools Superintendent Jason Griffin and received a verbal agreement that if the city went forward with the project that the Board of Education would also contribute some funding to the renovation.

City administrator Shannon Welch is researching the cost for repairs. However, the project would be required to be bid out with the company proposing the lowest and best bid being selected for the project.

The plan is to have a solution in place before tennis season for the school starts in January.

Several members of the Jemison High School tennis team were in attendance, along with coach Jaime Mitchell, Principal Diane Calloway and other team supporters.

Calloway had started the discussion by addressing the Council to request the resurfacing and replacement of the fence. She recounted how both the boys and girls team have gone to sectionals several times, and both went to state in 2016. The boys tennis team also made it to the state competition last year.

She said that if the courts are not taken care of JHS could lose the tennis program.

“Tennis is one of those things that if we don’t repair, there will be only one school with a tennis team, and it will not be Jemison,” Calloway said. “We really need this … It is a very important sport to us. We have a lot of students that excel at that.”

Mitchell said when visiting teams come to Jemison to play, which is projected to be eight times a year, it brings revenue to the city because they eat at local restaurants.

“It does add back to our city,” Mitchell said.

Councilman George Brasher mentioned that the city is also looking for additional property to have a larger park.

Security measures are being increased at the current location.

Councilman Rex Bittle asked about lighting and seating for the courts. Mitchell said lighting has been good in the past, but there is not enough seating during games.

Mitchell said the team practices five days a week during the season.

Also during the meeting, the Council:

  • Approved moving forward with the procedure to declare a house on Alabama Highway 191 an unsafe structure and have it demolished. Notice has been given to the property owners. A public hearing will be held on the issue on Sept. 16 at Jemison City Hall.
  • Approved beer and wine sale for consumption off premises licenses and a package store license c for Jemison BP. Police Chief Shane Fulmer said the location had sold beer and wine previously but was now under new owners.
  • Approved a reserve officer to be added for the Jemison Police Department.