Big news pervades City of Hartselle
By Randy Garrison
Just a few weeks ago, there was planning meeting held between city department heads and City Council members. This was a public meeting that was posted.
I, as mayor, had tasked the department heads with sharing their one-year, five-year, 10-year and 20-year goals for each department. This includes Administration, Department of Development, Hartselle Police Department, Hartselle Fire and Rescue, Parks and Recreation and Hartselle Public Works.
Most of you have heard if you fail to plan, then you are actually planning to fail. The City of Hartselle has a proud history and a strong foundation. All involved in the operation of the City have, at the top of their list, the goal to leave the city in a better position and better for the citizens than when they came on the scene or began their leadership position.
This operation began the process of building a master plan for the city.
The city has a strategic plan, which is a short-term plan of up to five years, and a comprehensive plan. The strategic plan has short-term goals and was last updated in 2017. The comprehensive plan – which deals with planning, controlled growth, annexation and zoning – is due to be updated in 2022 also.
Both will be included in the Master Plan, which will also include anticipated changes and growth in each area of the city.
These will include areas such as new facilities, upgrades of current facilities, re-organization and additional employees in several departments – basically where and how the city needs to be moving into the future.
All plans have as the No. 1 goal to make sure the City of Hartselle is prepared for the future – both in terms of growth and continued ability to fund City services into the future.
As the planning process was being evaluated, several needed updates and or changes were brought into the discussion. After thorough consideration by Administration and leadership, it was decided that each of these were needed sooner rather than later.
When the school board asked the city to go to the bond market to provide funding for a new Crestline Elementary School, which the Board will fund, the rates for bonds were at such a great rate that the decision was made to fund four City projects with additional bond funds.
The City of Hartselle borrowed $14 million to fund projects that will improve the quality of life for the citizens of Hartselle. These improvements will make a huge difference for many years to come.
The projects include the construction of a new William Bradford Huie Public Library. The current facility was never designed to be a library facility, and the condition of the building is not in a good enough state to spend additional funds to improve – nor would it be possible to make better use of space, because of the layout of the building.
Plans will be made to construct a facility that will meet the needs of patrons far into the future.
Updates are planned for Sparkman Park as well. The updates will include new lighting and improved parking, along with other changes to improve the park for all who use the 120+ acres.
Funds from the bonds will also be used to remodel one of the current fire stations. The stations constructed many years ago were not designed or built for current needs. Also, a new station is planned to be constructed and will replace one of the current stations.
The location of the new station is yet to be determined, but plans call for the stations to have a smaller overlap of coverage than they currently have.
Funding for an event center is also included from the bond proceeds. Plans will include a facility large enough to hold events such as Depot Days concerts, proms, Chamber events and others that require a larger facility than is currently available in our city. The building would also be available for rental of private events as well.
The above-mentioned projects would take many years to bring to fruition by trying to fund through the current budget process. Hartselle is growing, and thanks to all who support the city finances by spending their tax dollars here at home, all the projects are possible in the near future.
Public input will be sought on projects, and more information will follow.
Hartselle is a great place to call home – and it just keeps getting better and better.