Do you want to serve on the Board of Friends of Helena Schools?
The Friends of Helena Schools is accepting applicants. The group was original formed by residents who pressed for the creation of a Helena schools and local principals serve as Ex officio members but now you can be as well. The FOHS is an official 501(c) charity that raises funds by unique means such as grants and online donations. They are currently the sponsors the Welcome Bags for new residents and an annual BBQ cook-off at the Helena Farmer's Market. You can serve the greater good in the community by applying with the following information to this email@example.com.
Age of Student
Reason for wanting to Serve:
The Helena Business Association held its monthly business meeting with a speech from the Mayor of Helena, Mark Hall, about the happenings in Helena. Also David Schlueter and Henry Neff were honored (both great guys). You can read a article about the event from Graham Brooks HERE.
Congratulations to the youth of Helena who are break records and earning honors
Helena High Softball team beat Leeds 15 - 4
HHS Golf Team beat West Blocton and Jemison
HHS JV soccer team beat Pelham 2-1
HMS Baseball swept Chelsea
You can keep track of all theses sports by checking out the Helena Athletic Association facebook which is always on top of what is happening.
Read Across America
I was honored to be able to put on my top hat and read for Kimberly Fain's class at the Dr.Seuss Day and Read Across America event in Helena.
Tom shared their is a race in Helena on April 4 sponsored by OHOH to help fight childhood cancer. You can join up for it at https://runsignup.com/Race/AL/Helena/OHOH5KandFunRun
Check out the cool new banners in Old Town Helena to get ready for Helena Founder's Day on April 18th!
Papa Saia's Schedule
Tammy from Papa Saia's shared their schedule with me:
Thursday 3-5 Breck and Tommy from Deputy 5
Friday 3-6 Mulligans Last Resort
Saturday 3-7 Jason Mayo
New food specials every weekend
Shrimp and Grits Friday March 6th
Also on March 21st they will be celebrating with a Crawfish Bowl
City of Helena Updates
Lots of information about what is happening in Helena so I tried to group them in categories with the City Council Notes,
Parks and Recreation
This Saturday (March 7th) will be the Season Opening for Baseball in Helena. Parks Director Jason Powers said the celebration will begin at 9am at the Helena Sports complex and last for 5 hours. After all the teams around announced (10ish) they will throw out the first pitch. Helena resident and news celebrity Stephen Hauck was chosen to throw out the first pitch. They will have bouncing houses, games, and of course hotdogs!
There has been several concerns with the temporary fence at Joe Tucker ball field. The Mayor asked the Council to approve a new permanent fence installation at Joe Tucker Park. It would have two gates and cost $27k to construct. It was approved.
The Principal and Coach of Helena Middle school has asked the Council to construct a fence around the HMS football field. The field has been repeatedly vandalized by people on dirt bikes,4-wheeler and trucks. Mike Jones said that the price should be around $15,000. The fence will be paid from the 1 cent sales school fund and not the general budget.
Joe Tucker Playground
The City is having to address several broken items at the playgrounds at Joe Tucker due to vandalism and age. The Helena Kiwanis are planning to update the Boundless playground soon. Other broken playground equipment at Joe Tucker need to be addressed. The playground by the ball-field has the hazard of children being hit with balls so a net may be installed or the playground moved. Last year the City spent $2800 on tree bark/mulch for playgrounds and will need to do it again. During Spring, Joe Tucker will be cleaned up, and the track will be blown off a couple times a week.
We need to seriously save money for repairing and repaving roads in the future. When the asphalt plant opens during warmer weather, the Mayor plans to improve some problem areas. Mike Jones would like to look at prices for connector routes from Wynham and Roy drive and Oxmoor and Hillboro road. The repaving of Roy Drive was a good first step but many other roads in Helena are in need of repaving. Another option is connecting to Industrial Park Road in Pelham through the quarry.
Old Cahaba: The Mayor said this Summer they will be working on final coates for roads in the newer section of Old Cahaba. Building inspector George Pickle said they will also be getting the developer to add additional lighting. In the recent HOA meeting they requested additional police support for speeders in the back of the neighborhood.
Repaving: Plans are in the works by the County and State to resurface Hwy 17 this Summer and future plans for 95. The plans to repave Hwy 91 has been delayed due to right of way issues.
Mayor and Council has been working on ways to reduce congestion of Helena roads. One of the biggest success is the left turn lane at 261/52w/17. It has improved traffic flow by 25%!
The Mayor wants to work on a project will be to widen the road in front of Helena Elementary School and add a turn lane so outgoing morning traffic is not stopped by people turning into the school (see graphic above) . Since the budget is tight we will need to applying for a 80/20 grant. The first step would be to approve an Apple Study for RPC which will cost around $30k. It may take years and years to get approval, but we need to start the process now.
The Helena Buck Creek Multi-use trail, or Helena Greenway, has been something like a white whale for Helena like the fabled Bypass. It would the largest trail built by a Federal grant in Central Alabama in the past few decade. In fact, Helena has been paying the matching bond on it for years but it has been stuck in bureaucratic paperwork...until now.
We finally are seeing movement on its approval in ALDOT. Amy Smith said they will be having a meeting for final approval coming up this Summer. ALDOT has put it a higher priority on the project since the money is already sitting in the bank for it. If approved, it could go out to bid before school starts next year. It would take around one years to complete the trail portion and another year to complete the bridges and tunnels. It will make Helena's trail system around 6 miles (10k) long and connect several schools and City Parks (See Map above). It's features include tunnels under the railroad and bridges over the river. It will add to Helena's beauty, so my fingers are crossed. If it gets delayed again I may ask for your help in a huge online and letter writing campaign. (The blue section will not be part of the plan but maybe one day)
Highway 52 West bridge
Engineering work is being completing on the plan to replace the bridge in Helena that goes over the Cahaba on Hwy 52 west (also called Morgan Rd by some). There is also some surveying work being done to add additional left turn lanes on busy intersections on 52 west but those are much further away. (Seriously, remember anytime we talk about major projects like this, dont think in terms of months but rather years and decades)
The traffic light equipment for the intersection of Hillsboro Parkway and 52 west should be arriving later this month for Hillsboro. They would like to start work during Spring break but the entire project could last until end of April or beginning of May. The light will need to flash for a week before it will be official used.
Public Safety Stats
All the City of Helena Staff has been on standby mode for hazardous weather for the past couple of weeks. The County had set aside 7 truckload of sand and gravel for possible icy roads. The Helena Police had 4,200 calls for service and 26 arrest this past month and the Fire Department had 130 rescue calls, 11 fire calls, 53 services calls and 6 false alarms
Relay for Life
Helena was chosen to the Host City for Relay for Life. The walk-a-thon will be held on April 24th. This is a wonderful event and an honor to be picked. We look forward to welcoming all the teams.
Due to the recent ADEM auditsa nd requirement, the city has chosen to amend ordinance 672-05 and 597. They change the pricing scale for residential home builders that will follow Shelby County and for land clearing permits to cost between $25-$100. They are also increase fines for contractors who repeatable fail to obtain permit for work.
The Mayor and Council recognized Eagle Scout Jacob Rozycki for his efforts at working at the Helena Animal Shelter. He worked to improve the shelter by adding more room, better shelters for dogs, increasing the height of the fence, adding lights for volunteers, repair the shed floor, adding new storage, and a new covered walkway. Way to Go! The Shelby County reporter, Graham Brooks, was there and wrote a full article about his efforts. Take the time to check it out HERE
Sonya King is requesting permission to apply for a grant to fund an indoor holding facility for animal control and a Helena Dog Park. One possibly location would Joe Tucker Park.
Buck Creek 2014
The Buck Creek Festival announced the winner for the 14th annual 2015 Buck Creek Festival artwork is Mrs. Laura Joseph.
Rhonda Anderson asked about the proper way to use a roundabout. There are some people who are confused and slow down the process or cause it to be dangerous. Blair Perry, the City Engineer, shared this with me to explain.
"When you approach a roundabout, you are to Yield to traffic that is already in the circle. When traffic in the circle is clear and/or you get a gap, you can pull into the roundabout and circulate counterclockwise. As with any intersection, always watch for and yield to pedestrians and bicyclists".
My own observation is that everyone has their own internal definition of what is clear and
Blair also offered two information documents about roundabouts and the video below
PDF Doc 1 and PDF Doc 2