St. Clair Park and Recreation Board meets for first time
by Will Heath
Mar 09, 2011 | 1193 views |  0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
St. Clair County’s new Park and Recreation Board held its first meeting Thursday in Ashville.

The five-member board convened as part of the County Commission’s regularly scheduled work session to organize and begin operation.

“I’d like to say, I appreciate each and every one of you,” Commissioner Jeff Brown said. “It’s going to be brand new to all of us.”

The board members are: Kenny Womack, two-year term; Lud Mashburn and Brad Sanders, four-year terms; Don Smith and Herschel Phillips, six-year terms. At its first meeting, the board elected Mashburn and Womack to serve as chairman and vice chairman, respectively. Smith was elected secretary and treasurer.

According to attorney Bill Weathington, terms for the members were staggered intentionally.

“After these initial terms, each member will serve a six-year term,” Weathington said. “They will be staggered, and every two years there will be at least one appointment to the board.”

Commission Chairman Stan Batemon said the board now has multiple parcels of property already under its control.

“We’ve got a couple of boat-launching areas that have boat launch and parking,” Batemon said. “We’ve got a county park area, with plans possibly for walking trails over on Canoe Creek on Neely-Henry Lake. And, of course, we have the property where we have the arena located in Odenville.”

The arena property is the largest parcel under the board’s control, and Batemon suggested the board utilize it as headquarters.

“You’re going to, pretty quickly, have people wanting to have events there,” he said. “The County Commission really wants the Park and Rec Board to coordinate the events that are held there, but with the thought in mind that those people will pay compensation that will at least keep the power on, and the place cleaned up and a maintenance fee. So you’ll have to come up with a fee structure.

“My suggestion is you can set it up as your permanent headquarters there. You may decide the rental of that building is more important than meeting there. But right now, one end of that building is open to you.”

The county is also in the process of purchasing a historic site near Neely-Henry Lake, thought to be the site of the former Ft. Strother. Once that property is secure, it will likely be under control of the Park Board, as well.

“We’ll actually get you a map of (the properties) and have them in a document form, so you’ll have all that at your disposal,” Batemon said. “We really appreciate all of you being willing to serve.”

The new board also designated Metro Bank as its depository, and approved the bylaws as presented by the attorney.

Contact Will Heath at wheath@thestclairtimes.com.

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