Blountsville council celebrates year one


From left, Debra Sorrell, Jason Pennington, Savannah Pennington, and Evan Sanderson are proud of the improvements accomplished by volunteers at Blountsville Park.

From left, Debra Sorrell, Jason Pennington, Savannah Pennington, and Evan Sanderson are proud of the improvements accomplished by volunteers at Blountsville Park.

In November, Blountsville Mayor Danny Baker; council members Ray Baxley, David Blaxton, Tyler Cantrell, Shannon Elkins, and Debra Sorrell; town clerk Taylor Phillips; and court magistrate Geneva Castillo celebrate serving the first full year of their first term.

They have been busy learning and serving in many different ways while striving to improve their abilities in order to better benefit the community. Phillips and Castillo both completed training and courses, receiving certifications for their positions. Mayor and council have attended several training courses though the Alabama League of Municipalities.

Over the course of the last year, the town has accomplished many things. Several new businesses opened and each was welcomed with a ribbon cutting. These ceremonies are important to the mayor and council, and they use each one to not only make sure the community is aware of all the town has to offer, but to also encourage residents to shop local and get to know their neighbors and service leaders. They also love to share the excitement of seeing their small town grow.

This bulletin board displays photos of renovation at Blountsville Police Department.

This bulletin board displays photos of renovation at Blountsville Police Department.

The town has also partnered with other organizations and businesses to host several community events designed to bring fun, family activities to Blountsville. They have had great turnouts for movie nights and festivals. Several of these events have raised money for the local park, a place that holds special memories for those who grew up in Blountsville.

Another highlight of the year is the reestablishment of the town’s industrial and park boards. Council members are excited about each of the members serving these boards and also have future plans to create zoning and variance boards, which they are working on and looking for people who would like to serve.

Each council member is also involved with various projects and boards in the community and come together to help each other as well. The following is just a glimpse of what your council has been up to this year.

Volunteers painted paw prints on the concrete outside the concession stand at Blountsville Park.

Volunteers painted paw prints on the concrete outside the concession stand at Blountsville Park.

When asked what made this a memorable year, Baker said, “It’s been a memorable year, just by getting started. Just meeting everybody and figuring out how to do things. It’s been rewarding to see. I think we’ve pulled the school closer to the town. We were able to donate some money to the school.”

He continues to be excited about the updates and upgrades to the town’s police department, the commitment of those serving on the town’s boards, and the many new businesses, just to name a few. “I’ve been happy to serve the people here. There’s been an excitement in the community. We’ve had a lot of help with volunteers and the town coming together. Everybody coming together has helped us a lot. The more we can grow together, the better we are going to be.”

Baxley is especially proud of the town’s police department. “My heart is with the police department,” he said. His face lights up with excitement at this year’s accomplishments. A few police cars bear J.B. Pennington’s school logo, and fire trucks will be soon. The police station has completed stage one of a three-phase update plan. Most of the work was completed by off-duty officers using personal time.

Blaxton is involved with the street department which handles grass cutting, maintenance, and many other projects. He was excited at the volunteers who came out to help during the first “Clean Up Day” in Blountsville. He is also involved with the garden club, which has been a great asset in their efforts to beautify entrances into town as well as other areas around Blountsville.

Cantrell has been working to improve communications with citizens and ensure transparency. “We’ve improved on that a lot through social media and working with news outlets so the community can see what’s going on. It’s also important to us to share the accomplishments of our students, letting parents know we are proud of our kids, our schools, and our community,” he said. He’s also excited about reestablishing the Friends of the Library Committee (the fundraising wing of the library) and the Little Free Library boxes that are in three different locations around town.

Elkins recently became president of the Blountsville Historical Society. His passion is the “deep and rich history” of Blountsville and he wants to bring the historical society together with the town and community so they can help preserve “that specialness” of Blountsville. He is looking forward to moving ahead with different activities similar to the recent “Spooks at the Park” event that the community could not stop talking about. “I work with a great group that has done a lot of work over the years, and I am looking forward to working alongside them as we continue to improve the park and create more community-wide activities.” The historical society will be announcing plans for a Christmas event soon.

Sorrell, who is involved with the park board, said, “We are unique. We have a pool. We have a splash pad. We are trying to build our youth sports programs back up. The town now has a park board; that was one of our commitments. The officers were elected recently.” She is very excited about the new board. “The park is doing much better. We have new lights and a co-ed softball league now. The park to me is important for community. We would like to have something going on over there all the time.” This year the park hosted several movie nights as one more way to bring the community together.

The mayor and council look forward to more opportunity for community growth. “It hasn’t been easy, a lot of trial and error, but we are headed in the right direction,” Baker said. Each expressed a deep love for their hometown. Building a “sense of community” echoes their efforts as this first year concludes. Stay tuned for the next three years. And continue to pray for them as they continue to learn, grow, and serve you… their community.