Archive for the ‘Bessemer DHR Building’ Category

>Bessemer: moving on

November 4, 2010

Coming up in Bessemer

City council

The new city council will hold their first meeting on Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 9 a. m. They have elected Jesse Matthews as Council President and Sherrina Rice as president pro tem.

Matthews has served as council president before, and it is good that they have elected someone with experience to lead the meetings.

Railroad hub

Also on November 9 a public hearing will be held for the Norfolk Southern rail hub in McCalla. The hearing will focus on the environmental study of the proposed hub area. It will take place at the Discovery Alabama Event Center at Watermark Place, from 4 to 7 pm.

The Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration have signed off on the report, and the public hearing is required by law under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Rudy Husband, spokesperson for Norfolk Southern said they hope to start construction in early 2011 and open the facility in mid to late 2012.

Norfolk Southern says the facility will create or preserve 8600 jobs and have a $4 billion economic impact over the next 10 years.

The hearing will include stations with displays that address concerns about the project, but also there will be a short presentation about the project followed by a moderated question and answer session.

Here is a link to where you can read the environmental assessment. No, I haven’t read all of the >500 page document, but I can tell you that environmental concerns are addressed, and the concerns that were submitted by residents were addressed as well. This document is also available at the Bessemer Public Library and the Hueytown Public Library.

Bessemer DHR building

The construction of the Bessemer DHR building is on schedule.

The weather cooperated and allowed the slab to be poured before the rains came.

This pile of steel will soon provide the framework for the building.

Before the end of the year look for the second floor slab pour.

The building is scheduled for completion in July 2011.

>DHR Groundbreaking

June 4, 2010

>The groundbreaking ceremony for the new DHR building took place this morning.

This building is going to turn a neglected corner in Bessemer into a showcase.

The crowd that gathered included all 7 Bessemer City Council members and at least one announced council candidate, local and state DHR officials, the president of the Bessemer Historical Homeowners Association, Bessemer Chamber of Commerce officials, the architect and others from his firm, the contractor, Fire Department officials and other city officials.

From left to right – Ron Gilbert, city engineer; Aaron Killings, attorney; Anthony Windsor, Public Building Authority (PBA) President; Mayor Ed May; Joe Openshaw, PBA Vice President; Sadie Harris, PBA treasurer

Council Members, PBA members DHR personnel and Mayor Ed May and city engineer Ron Gilbert playing in the dirt

Construction will begin within a couple of weeks and progress will be recorded on this site. In a year, DHR will be moving into their new facility!

>Positive things are happening in Bessemer

June 3, 2010

>Let’s catch up on some Bessemer news and announcements.

Farmer’s market

The weekly Farmer’s Market at Watermark Place Center will begin this Saturday from 7 am to 12 noon. Fresh, local produce and things for kids to do and entertainment and cooking demonstrations.

And did I mention, fresh, local produce?

Most of the Farmer’s market vendors will accept senior citizen nutrition coupons.

Join me in welcoming this addition to Bessemer.

DHR Building groundbreaking

The groundbreaking for the new (close to) 6 million dollar DHR building will take place Friday, June 4, 2010 at 11:00 at the site located at 1st Ave N and 20th St in Bessemer.

Today the site is in “pre-groundbreaking” mode.

Join me as we see the beginning of a change in downtown Bessemer.


A developer is wanting to annex a tract of land into Bessemer in the area of the Norfolk Southern railroad hub that is being being developed. The land is between McAdory School Road and McAshan Drive. The proposal was to be presented before the Bessemer City Council this morning in a special called meeting.

The council chamber was packed, with between 35-40 McCalla residents and a couple of dozen others and TV crews. A “comedy of errors” took place as the meeting began. I won’t go into the details, but just let me say that it is further evidence that we need new leadership and a new council, but there will be plenty to say about that in the coming weeks as we approach the city elections.

The developer said this project would create 780 to 1000 jobs. The city would benefit because of the job creation and because of property taxes the city would collect.

Mayor Ed May said there is no downside to annexing land. That is how cities grow.

Council person (and County Commission candidate) Jimmie Stephens questioned the wisdom in development with an industrial use rather than residential development. The land includes two failed subdivisions.

It was pretty obvious that Stephens was acting more like a County Commissioner by looking out for the interests of the county residents than a City Councilor who should be representing the interests of the city and its residents. Clearly the annexation of the land would benefit the city.

The incumbent County Commissioner Bobby Humphryes (who will face Stephens in a runoff)was there, and he also spoke in opposition to the annexation, saying the county had a land use plan for the area that would retain the residential and agricultural zoning it now has and the development of a “village.”

The council will probably vote on the issue at the next regular meeting on Tuesday, June 8, 2010. I say “probably” because you never know when this council will drop or add something to an agenda or call or cancel a special meeting.

In the meantime, go here to see how the Hub itself is a progressive thing, from an environmental standpoint, as it will help reduce traffic and pollution and cause a reduction in greenhouse gases. Other information about the hub and Norfolk Southern’s outreach to the community can be found there as well.

The Bessemer City Council needs to recognize too that there are McCalla residents who support the hub and the associated development. The loudest voice is not always the most popular or the right voice.

And like Louise Alexander said, the council needs to do what is best for the city of Bessemer, not those who are outside the city. She said she would vote for the annexation.

She also asked why the McCalla residents don’t ask to be annexed into Bessemer. Wade Cox, a resident of McCalla and spokesperson for those in attendance, tried to explain how they want an elite community without industry, without offending the Bessemer leaders that they want to avoid living under. Interesting.

There is nothing wrong with living in a city that celebrates diversity, and that includes a diverse array of job opportunities and types of business and industry. The Mayor mentioned that the CSX hub is adjacent to residential areas and practically in downtown Bessemer, and that Bessemer has a history of close ties to industry.

780-1000 jobs. Income for the city. Council members, remember that.

And McCalla residents, come on into the city of Bessemer. We don’t bite.

IPEC and Camp Bessemer

The city is partnering with IPEC (Influencing to Provoke Empowerment for Change) to run Camp Bessemer, the summer program that provides jobs for young people and activities and children. The city will pay $195,000 to IPEC to run the program.

Today at the council meeting the council attempted to determine how to pay the money to the group and what kind of oversight they should have. What could (and should) have been a simple, 5 minute procedure turned into another extended discussion during which many of the audience members who were still there, including myself, had to leave in order to keep our wits about us.

At any rate, Camp Bessemer will begin Monday, June 7. Spanish lessons, reading help, arts and crafts and other activities will take place.

>New Bessemer State DHR building

September 11, 2009

>Here are drawings of the new Bessemer State Department of Human Resources building scheduled to be built next year. After completion the DHR services for our area will be consolidated into one building. This will increase both efficiency and security for clients as well as employees.

The building will be situated at the corner of First avenue and 20th Street. Currently the lot is vacant.

This is the view from the front, along 20th Street.

This view is from the side, along 1st Avenue.

The building will be around 52000 sq feet, two story. Around 150 employees will work in the building.

The Bessemer Public Building Authority has approved these preliminary drawings as well as the preliminary plans.

Ground breaking will probably be in late January or early February, 2010.