Tom Henderson - Candidate Position Statement

Center Point Municipal Candidates

Position Statements

Tom Henderson

Economic Development:

What should be Center Point’s top Economic Development priority?

Our top priorities should be to continue to recruit new businesses and to retain our present businesses. One of the best ways to retain businesses is for the people of Center Point to shop in center Point. If the businesses in the city are successful, new businesses will be more likely to choose Center Point. This will lead to more and better job opportunities for our citizens.

When it comes to Economic Development and growth, what are Center Point’s greatest challenges and greatest assets?

Our greatest challenges are to fill empty store fronts and to make the empty spaces more presentable so prospective businesses are attracted to Center Point. Our greatest assets to attract new businesses are the amenities the city has to offer to new residents and businesses. These include our park system which provides opportunities for all ages and interests including our four- legged friends and our outstanding Fire District and Sheriff’s Office.

How would you prioritize Center Point’s capital improvement needs?

Our comprehensive plan calls for us to have recreational opportunities available within walking distance of all our citizens. This would be one of the improvements I see as being needed. This could be done by acquiring empty lots within neighborhoods and developing “Pocket Parks” with picnic areas and small playgrounds for the children. We also need to continue to upgrade our present parks. Completion of the project on Polly Reed Road is a top priority. This project will cover the ditches and put sidewalks and pave the road from Center Point Parkway to Reed Harvey Park.

The City and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce attend the International Conference of Shopping Centers annual convention each year as well as the regional ICSC meeting attended by the Chamber Economic Development Coordinator. These events are primarily recruiting venues for new businesses.  Both the City and the Chamber work closely with the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham to plan growth and development within the city.  The City of Center Point has also recently been named an Alabama Community of Excellence (ACE) which provides more grant opportunities for the City.  What other means would you employ to draw new businesses to our City?

We need to use the Regional Planning Commission to secure leads on businesses that contact them looking for opportunities. My membership on the RPC Board and the Metropolitan Planning Organization puts me in a position to work with them. We need to emphasize our awards such as, being designated as an Alabama City of Excellence and a Certified Municipality by the Alabama League of Municipalities, on all possible social media in order to make prospective businesses and industry know we are a city that is moving forward. We also will continue to work with the Birmingham Business Alliance to secure new leads to industries interested in locating in this area.

The City has had a very aggressive grant writing program over the years that has gained the City over $12 million in services, inventory, construction and programs.  While grants do not fund operating expenses, they do allow the City to offer special programs that are over and above what the budget allows.  Some examples of things grants have funded in the City include:  law enforcement equipment and training, three additions to the Senior Center (including the one currently being constructed) as well as programs for seniors, all of the sidewalks within the city limits, the splash pad, energy efficiency grant to bring down utility costs, boardwalk at the Reed-Harvey Park, a playground at the community center, etc. What types of innovative programs would you envision our community having that might be accessible through grant writing?

We need more grant money to enable us to add additional sidewalks where feasible. These could be in conjunction with the development of the “Pocket Parks.” We have put in over two miles of sidewalks that include: from Erwin Intermediate School to the Parkway by way of 24th Ave. and 23rd Terrace NW at a cost of $350,000.00.  We also have put in the side walk from 21st NE to 23rd Ave. and 1st NE with lighting and fence at the Park at a cost of $500,000.00.

Education:

Since our schools are a part of the Jefferson County School District, the City has limited input into their organization/structure. How can the City of Center Point best support the area schools in our city limits?

We can continue to increase the amount of funds we allocate to the schools each year. We have provided the schools with $143,000.00 in this fiscal year. We can support them by attending the sporting events, concerts, plays and other events at the schools and funding special projects. The schools are in need of volunteers with different projects. All parents need to be members of the PTA at their school. We can all become members of the Booster Clubs for the different extracurricular activities at each school.

Although our public library has an independent board, the city still supports the library financially.  What do you see as the city’s role as pertains to the library?

The city is very proud of the new Library located along side of the Community Center at 533 Sunhill Road. The city will continue to provide funding for the Library. The city should continue to encourage our schools and all citizens to take advantage of all the opportunities that are provided by the Library and its staff.

Parks & Recreation:

Please name the existing services offered at each of the City’s parks that you are aware of and what services can be improved upon.

The Sport Complex on Chalkville School Road provides opportunities for youth baseball, softball, football, concession stands as well as flashlight Easter Egg hunts.  The City continues to upgrade the quality of the playing fields. I would like to see more travel teams at the park.

Reed Harvey Park - Meals on wheels, senior games, movies in the park, splash pad, fishing rodeos for children and adults, playground equipment and Veterans Memorial, & walking trails. Hillcrest Manor is a wedding venue that provides the community with opportunities to have weddings, parties and receptions, etc. The annual Christmas tree lighting is also held there. I would like to see more activities for the children at the lake and organized activities at the playground.

The sports complex at the Jefferson County Annex features a baseball field, tennis courts, soccer field, & walking track.   We also have an annual National Night Out in October that gives the citizens a chance to visit with each other and get to know the Sheriff’s deputies and the firemen.

The Community Center offers many opportunities for fitness classes, weight room, gymnasium (available for youth and adult basketball, pickleball &  volleyball), social events, Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, Fire District Christmas Dinner and trainings and other events, Fireside room for small meetings, full commercial kitchen, gymnastics and classrooms for meetings and rentals for small events,. a softball field, with plans for a future walking trail and playground. The Community Center also provides a youth Summer Camp, Trunk or Treat, and backpack give away and the new Job Fair.

Please state what additional recreational services you would like to see the City offer its residents.

As stated above I would like to see “Pocket Parks.” around the city. If property becomes available on the northwest side of the City, I would like to see the City put in a playground and picnic areas for the citizens on that side of our City. The Completion of the Cherry Parmer Dog Park is near. The Grand Opening is planned for August 19, 2020.

We are also working on adding additional trails to the Five Mile Creek Greenway located along Five Mile Creek. Reed Harvey Park is part of the Five Mile Creek Greenway System.

If you have visited the new Community Center, please give your impressions of the positives of this facility and what you would improve upon within current budgetary funding.

The basketball court and workout center have been a tremendous addition to the recreational activities available to our citizens, young and old.  I would like to see the instruction class offerings expanded. This whole center is a great asset to the city and is being utilized to its capacity during the pandemic.

Public Works:

Are there any areas of PUBLIC property within the City limits of Center Point that need improvements? Where and what improvements would you implement?

Our public works department does a wonderful job of maintaining the roads the city is responsible for in the annexed portions of the city. They also are the liaison between the Jefferson County Roads and Transportation concerning the roads and rights-of-way in the original incorporated areas of the city. They also are the city’s liaison with Advanced Disposal for garbage and trash pickup.  The Public Works Department needs additional personnel and upgraded equipment in order to continue and improve services. The Horticulture department does a great job of keeping the medians and other city properties looking good with the landscaping. They are also are responsible for cleaning the roadsides on main thoroughfares. They also have the responsibility of treating the grassed areas of the ball fields at all parks.

Safety:

The US Department of Justice just completed a study of crime in the City of Center Point. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department has provided updated information for 2019 as well as amended information from the DOJ data.   This study is available to read on the city’s website (http://www.thecityofcenterpoint.org/DOJ%20report%20with%20City%20of%20Center%20Point%20reponses.pdf ).  Please state which of the study’s recommendations you would implement first and why.

As stated above I would like to have deputies whose main duties are primarily community relations both in the residential areas and the commercial district. I think they would be a great asset in providing leadership and assistance in our Neighborhood Watch program. They could do this by assisting the city safety committee chairperson with setting up and attending neighborhood watch meeting at City Hall and in the neighborhoods. I think this would give each neighborhood more of a sense of community.

Funding and availability of law enforcement candidates are barriers to public safety in Center Point.  There is a national shortage of police academy candidates, primarily minority candidates as well as difficulty in retaining law enforcement officers once hired.  What would you do to attract additional competent officers/deputies to our City? For those who believe Center Point should have its own police department, how would you fund it (either using existing budgetary numbers or increased revenue from other sources)?

I would continue to maintain a good working relationship with the Sheriff to make certain that the deputies that are assigned to our contract are competent, professional, and have the experience needed to deal with citizens on a one-to-one level. I would like to add additional deputies as they become available. I would like to see deputies whose duties are primarily community relations.

Senior Citizens:

Please list the programs that you are familiar with as pertains to the Senior Citizens Center.

They provide meals on wheels, interactive game activities at the center and field trips. The Senior Fishing rodeo is offered each year. The seniors have celebrations of different holidays, dance each week and exercise classes during the week. During the pandemic, we are providing meals on a drive-through basis for those who can get to the center and delivery of meals to those who cannot. Many classes for the seniors are offered during the year. Safety classes, fraud classes and self-help classes are among the options offered to seniors.

The Senior Center is currently being enlarged through a Community Development Block grant.  With this extra space, what additional programs would you like to see implemented?

The new addition will have exercise equipment for the seniors and can be used for a shelter for the seniors if a storm comes. All exercise classes will be held in this facility.

Candidate Information:

Please provide a short biography that will let people know a little about who you are and your connection to Center Point.

I moved to Center Point in 1967 to become a teacher and coach at Jefferson State Community College where I served as Department Chair for the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation for 33 years. I coached basketball, tennis and women’s gymnastics. I served as Athletic Director for the last four years until I retired in 2000. My wife (Betty) and I became involved in the Center Point Action Committee to help clean up Center Point. This committee eventually resulted in the incorporation of Center Point in 2002. I was elected Mayor in April 2002 and have been privileged to serve as your Mayor since that time.

During the time I have served as Mayor, I have been honored by my peers to be chosen to serve as President of the Jefferson County Mayor’s Association for three terms and Chairman of the Metropolitan Planning Organization for two consecutive terms. I have also served on the Alabama League of Municipalities Executive Committee for many years. I am presently serving as President of the Municipal Workman’s Compensation Fund for the League of Municipalities.

Betty and I have two children who attended Erwin Elementary and Erwin High School.

As you can see, I am vested in the City of Center Point.

Roger Barlow & I were members of the original incorporators of the City in 2002

Roger Barlow - Candidate Position Statement

Center Point Municipal Candidates

Position Statements

Roger Barlow

Economic Development:

What should be Center Point’s top Economic Development priority?

Our top priority should be to encourage shopping with our businesses in Center Point.  We need to continue to support our existing business community as we strive to acquire more businesses to locate in Center Point.

When it comes to Economic Development and growth, what are Center Point’s greatest challenges and greatest assets?

Our greatest challenge is to fill empty store fronts and our greatest assets are the business friendly attitudes of Council Members and the high volume of traffic that fills Center Point Parkway.

How would you prioritize Center Point’s capital improvement needs?

It is my opinion that we need to continue to expand our park recreation areas to give our children, and adults, the opportunity to take part in the related activities.

Also, very important is the Polly Reed Road Project.  This project has been delayed by ALDOT many times.  I would like to push to get this project completed.  It will provide for sidewalks along Polly Reed Road and fill in the ditches.

The City and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce attend the International Conference of Shopping Centers annual convention each year as well as the regional ICSC meeting attended by the Chamber Economic Development Coordinator. These events are primarily recruiting venues for new businesses.  Both the City and the Chamber work closely with the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham to plan growth and development within the city.  The City of Center Point has also recently been named an Alabama Community of Excellence (ACE) which provides more grant opportunities for the City.  What other means would you employ to draw new businesses to our City?

I would use my forty plus years as a CPA and business contacts to encourage businesses to locate in Center Point.

The City has had a very aggressive grant writing program over the years that has gained the City over $12 million in services, inventory, construction and programs.  While grants do not fund operating expenses, they do allow the City to offer special programs that are over and above what the budget allows.  Some examples of things grants have funded in the City include:  law enforcement equipment and training, three additions to the Senior Center (including the one currently being constructed) as well as programs for seniors, all of the sidewalks within the city limits, the splash pad, energy efficiency grant to bring down utility costs, boardwalk at the Reed-Harvey Park, a playground at the community center, etc. What types of innovative programs would you envision our community having that might be accessible through grant writing?

I would like to see more sidewalks for our Citizens.  I know we received Federal money several years ago for sidewalks and they are a great benefit to foot traffic.  It would be a goal of mine to expand that and get more sidewalks so our citizens don’t have to walk on the streets with the traffic.

Education:

Since our schools are a part of the Jefferson County School District, the City has limited input into their organization/structure. How can the City of Center Point best support the area schools in our city limits?

We can support them by attending the sporting events, funding special projects and supplementing payroll.  I would also like to see the City increase the annual financial support to the schools in Center Point, over and above the current level of $103,000.

Although our public library has an independent board, the city still supports the library financially.  What do you see as the city’s role as pertains to the library?

To provide funding and support for the board and library staff.

Parks & Recreation:

Please name the existing services offered at each of the City’s parks that you are aware of and what services can be improved upon.

The ballpark complex on Chalkville School Road - baseball, softball, football, concession stands.  The City continues to upgrade the quality of the playing fields and I would like to see more travel teams at the park.

Reed Harvey Park - Meals on wheels, senior games and exercise classes, field trips, movies in the park, splash pad, fishing rodeos for children and adults, playground equipment and Veterans Memorial wreath laying twice a year.  I would like to see more activities for the children at the lake and organized activities at the playground.

Hillcrest Manor - a venue for social gatherings, weddings, meeting, etc.

The sports complex at the Jefferson County Annex - baseball, tennis courts, soccer field, walking track.  I would like to have the concession stand open for participants and spectators when there is activity at one of the fields.

Community center - basketball and other sports, exercise, health and how-to classes, ballpark.  I would like to have a splash pad at the community center.

Please state what additional recreational services you would like to see the City offer its residents.

If property becomes available on the northwest side of the City I would like to see the City put in a playground and picnic areas for the citizens on that side of our City.

If you have visited the new Community Center, please give your impressions of the positives of this facility and what you would improve upon within current budgetary funding.

The basketball court and work-out center have been a tremendous addition to the recreational activities available to our citizens, young and old.  I would like to see the instruction class offerings expanded.

Public Works:

Are there any areas of PUBLIC property within the City limits of Center Point that need improvements? Where and what improvements would you implement?

Our public works department does a wonderful job with grass cutting on the rights-of-way and trash pickup but they can only do so much with the current number of employees.  I would like to see the public works employee level increased to help with these activities throughout our City on a more regular basis.

Safety:

The US Department of Justice just completed a study of crime in the City of Center Point. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department has provided updated information for 2019 as well as amended information from the DOJ data.   This study is available to read on the city’s website (http://www.thecityofcenterpoint.org/DOJ%20report%20with%20City%20of%20Center%20Point%20reponses.pdf ).  Please state which of the study’s recommendations you would implement first and why.

I would like for the deputies to have more of a presence in our residential areas and more involved in social personal contact with our citizens by having block parties, barbeques, or just meetings in the street.  This would help to increase the level of confidence the citizens have in our law enforcement staff.

Funding and availability of law enforcement candidates are barriers to public safety in Center Point.  There is a national shortage of police academy candidates, primarily minority candidates as well as difficulty in retaining law enforcement officers once hired.  What would you do to attract additional competent officers/deputies to our City? For those who believe Center Point should have its own police department, how would you fund it (either using existing budgetary numbers or increased revenue from other sources)?

I would continue to maintain a good working relationship with the Sheriff to make certain that the deputies that are assigned to our contract are competent, professional, and have the experience needed to deal with citizens on a one-to-one level.

Senior Citizens:

Please list the programs that you are familiar with as pertains to the Senior Citizens Center.

Meals on wheels and senior citizen interactive game activities at the center and field trips.

The Senior Center is currently being enlarged through a Community Development Block grant.  With this extra space, what additional programs would you like to see implemented?

I would like for the center to increase the recreation/workout activities and interactive games for our senior citizens.

Candidate Information:

Please provide a short biography that will let people know a little about who you are and your connection to Center Point.

Upon marrying Shelley in 1988 I moved into Center Point and have lived here since then.  I am married, have 3 children, 8 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.  I am one of ten children and graduated from University Of Central Florida in 1979.

I am a Certified Public Accountant, owning my own firm for over 30 years and still work as a CPA

Myself and Tom Henderson were members of the original incorporators of the City in 2002.  I have served as President of the City Council for 16 of the 18 years I have been on the City Council.

Linda Kennemur - Candidate Position Statement

Center Point Municipal Candidates

Position Statements

Linda Kennemur

Economic Development:

What should be Center Point’s top Economic Development priority?

Our priority is to seek out new businesses, using tax incentives if necessary. Also, we must maintain correspondence with existing businesses to meet their needs and foster relationships.

When it comes to Economic Development and growth, what are Center Point’s greatest challenges and greatest assets?

The city’s greatest challenges are empty shopping centers with absent property owners that are hard to get in touch with or do not want to spend money to bring their buildings up to code, so they can become rentable. The city’s greatest assets are relationships with our schools, Center Point Fire District & Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department. The city works very closely with each one.

How would you prioritize Center Point’s capital improvement needs?

We need to keep moving forward toward improving existing parks and work toward obtaining property on the northwest side for “pocket parks” that have playgrounds and pavilions with picnic tables. We also need to complete the Polly Reed Road project to cover the ditches with sidewalks.

The City and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce attend the International Conference of Shopping Centers annual convention each year as well as the regional ICSC meeting attended by the Chamber Economic Development Coordinator. These events are primarily recruiting venues for new businesses.  Both the City and the Chamber work closely with the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham to plan growth and development within the city.  The City of Center Point has also recently been named an Alabama Community of Excellence (ACE) which provides more grant opportunities for the City.  What other means would you employ to draw new businesses to our City?


We need to publicize the city’s accomplishments and awards to shine a positive image on our city.

The City has had a very, aggressive grant writing program over the years that has gained the City over $12 million in services, inventory, construction and programs.  While grants do not fund operating expenses, they do allow the City to offer special programs that are over and above what the budget allows.  Some examples of things grants have funded in the City include:  law enforcement equipment and training, three additions to the Senior Center (including the one currently being constructed) as well as programs for seniors, all of the sidewalks within the city limits, the splash pad, energy efficiency grant to bring down utility costs, boardwalk at the Reed-Harvey Park, a playground at the community center, etc. What types of innovative programs would you envision our community having that might be accessible through grant writing?

The city needs many more grants for “pocket parks” on the northwest side and sidewalks on the northwest side. The sidewalks are needed because this is where all four of our Center Point schools are located. We also need grants to obtain more equipment for our deputies to better serve our city with public safety.

Education:

Since our schools are a part of the Jefferson County School District, the City has limited input into their organization/structure. How can the City of Center Point best support the area schools in our city limits?

The city can keep increasing our budget that we have allowed for our schools. This fiscal year was in the amount of $143,000. This is divided between the four schools that are in our city limits by the number of students in each school.

Although our public library has an independent board, the city still supports the library financially.  What do you see as the city’s role as pertains to the library?

Our role is to put the funds that the library will need in the city’s budgets and make sure the schools are sending students to utilize the library’s resources.

Parks & Recreation:

Please name the existing services offered at each of the City’s parks that you are aware of and what services can be improved upon.

The sports complex that is located off Chalkville School Road offers our children football, cheerleading, baseball and softball at this location. We also have nice, clean concession stands.

Reed-Harvey Park has nice, updated playground equipment. You can also play in our new splash pad or fish in our lakes. The city holds a fishing rodeo once a year for the children on one day and senior citizens a couple of days later. We also have well-maintained walking trails and Movies in the Park on Friday nights. At this park, you will find the beautiful Veterans Memorial. This is also the location of the Seniors Center, where they offer Meals on Wheels, field trips, and drive-in bingo. They are also provided activities and games. I would like to see the Splash Pad expanded in the future. Across the street, you will find the city-owned Hillcrest Manor wedding venue. Here, the public can rent this facility for weddings, parties, banquets and more. This is also where the city hosts the annual Christmas Tree lighting.

The sports complex at the Jefferson County Courthouse annex features, a baseball field, soccer fields, tennis courts and walking trails. This is also where the annual National Night Out is hosted.

The new Center Point Community Center is making steady, positive progress. It offers fitness classes, a gymnasium for youth and adult basketball, pickle ball, volleyball, weight room, softball field and a youth summer camp.

Please state what additional recreational services you would like to see the City offer its residents.

I would like to see the completion of the Cherry Parmer Dog Park and “pocket parks” on the northwest side.

If you have visited the new Community Center, please give your impressions of the positives of this facility and what you would improve upon within current budgetary funding.

I just would like to see this new facility keep moving forward.

Public Works:

Are there any areas of PUBLIC property within the City limits of Center Point that need improvements? Where and what improvements would you implement?

City public works department works hard to keep the trash picked up. However, we need to employ more workers to cover a bigger area. The city’s horticulture department helps in keeping our city look nice and inviting with their landscaping skills.

Safety:

The US Department of Justice just completed a study of crime in the City of Center Point. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department has provided updated information for 2019 as well as amended information from the DOJ data.   This study is available to read on the city’s website (http://www.thecityofcenterpoint.org/DOJ%20report%20with%20City%20of%20Center%20Point%20reponses.pdf ).  Please state which of the study’s recommendations you would implement first and why.

We need more presence of deputies and more interaction with our children to bond and make a long-lasting relationship. We must also make sure that we keep a good relationship and have good communication with our contract deputies on a daily basis. We also need to make sure that they have all the tools and equipment that they need to help them be as effective and professional as possible while performing their duties. The city needs to employ more deputies, as Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department hires and is willing to contract them out to us.

Funding and availability of law enforcement candidates are barriers to public safety in Center Point.  There is a national shortage of police academy candidates, primarily minority candidates as well as difficulty in retaining law enforcement officers once hired.  What would you do to attract additional competent officers/deputies to our City? For those who believe Center Point should have its own police department, how would you fund it (either using existing budgetary numbers or increased revenue from other sources)?

I feel we get a lot more for our money by contracting deputies from Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department. In addition to the contract deputies, there are many deputies who are assigned to control our city.

Senior Citizens:

Please list the programs that you are familiar with as pertains to the Senior Citizens Center.

This is where the seniors get to engage and participate in exercise class, a once-a-week dance, games and activities, field trips and a fishing rodeo once a year. The seniors are also provided with Meals on Wheels.

The Senior Center is currently being enlarged through a Community Development Block grant.  With this extra space, what additional programs would you like to see implemented?

Further activities can be implemented and improved with this new, updated facility. The Seniors Center is at capacity, and the new addition is much needed.

Candidate Information:

Please provide a short biography that will let people know a little about who you are and your connection to Center Point.

Linda Kennemur is 60 years old and has been married for 43 years to James Kennemur. They are both lifetime natives of Center Point, Alabama. Linda and James have one daughter Nicole, who is married to Marcus Thomas. They have three children - Caleb, Miles and Riley, who are a big part of their Nana’s life.

Linda is a Highly Qualified Paraprofessional in Special Education, and she has been employed for 23 years at Center Point Elementary. She also has served for the past 20 years as Chief Inspector of elections at precinct 4030 under the jurisdiction of Jefferson County Probate Judges.

Linda was elected to the Center Point City Council in 2004 and has remained on the council for 16 years. She is now campaigning for her 5th term on the council, where she is Chairman of Public Safety. This position gives her the resources she needs to advocate for the elderly and children.

Linda’s next community watch event will be the Human Trafficking Conference at Center Point Community Center Auditorium. The theme for this conference is ”NOT OUR CHILDREN”! Guest speakers will be the coordinator for the Child Trafficking Solutions Project in Jefferson County, the 911 Emergency Communications District, and a Human Trafficking specialist from ALEA (Alabama Law Enforcement Agency). The purpose of this meeting is to raise awareness and educate our citizens and encourage other communities to do the same.

She has completed bronze, silver and platinum education standards with the National League of Cities University. She also has 260 credits in classroom training with Alabama League of Municipalities.


Linda is especially passionate about the well-being of children and the elderly.

Matt Ray - Candidate Position Statement

Center Point City Council Place 3

Candidate Matt Ray’s Position Statements

Economic Development:

What should be Center Point’s top Economic Development priority?  When it comes to Economic Development and growth, what are Center Point’s greatest challenges and greatest assets?

I am going to answer these two questions together, because I believe they are too strongly intertwined to separate.

Center Point Parkway is the face of the city.  It is where Center Point citizens can go to eat and shop, and it is where non-citizens are most likely to experience the city.  In this way, the Parkway itself is Center Point’s greatest challenge and greatest asset, and it is where the city must focus its economic development efforts.

Growing up in Trussville in the 1970’s and 80’s, I vividly remember my mother shopping in Center Point because of the convenience.  One of my earliest memories is picking out a toy truck at the TG&Y.  My across-the-street neighbor owned the Pasquale’s on the Parkway that later became Nick’s Village Pizza.

When I moved to Center Point in 2007, there were ten restaurants within 1.5 miles of my house.  Today, that number has dwindled to five, and may go even lower.  There were retail shops, a veterinary clinic, and gyms also, but most of the businesses that were here ten years ago have shuttered.  Instead, we have empty buildings and barren parking lots.  Lee’s Pawn Shop, a Center Point fixture for decades, abandoned the city after being robbed multiple times in a short period.  This past Sunday night (August 2), someone was shot while driving on the Parkway, only a few hundred yards from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s substation.  I’ve spoken with long time business owners who are determined to make it on the Parkway, but tell me that the city is, at best, indifferent, and at worst, hostile towards their business.

We only need to look as far as discussion groups for other nearby cities to see how we look to the outside.  People use Center Point Parkway as a cautionary tale, with statements like, “If we don’t fix this issue, our city will start to look like Center Point,” or “I don’t stop there anymore, I just try to get through as quickly as possible.”  Center Point’s own residents post stories about scary encounters at gas stations, or the frequency of having to avoid areas where the police have descended on a fresh crime scene.

For Center Point to survive, we must work to bring the Parkway back. This means bringing back public safety, a welcome feeling for residents and visitors, and cleaner, more attractive storefronts in place of empty buildings.  The businesses that are here now need to feel welcome, and those who are considering starting businesses need to believe that Center Point is a great place to do it.

How would you prioritize Center Point’s capital improvement needs?

There needs to be a focus on city rights-of-way being made as attractive as is practical.  We also need to push for infrastructure repairs that are the responsibility of the State and county governments to be made in a timely manner.  Where possible, I would like to establish a method of helping property owners along Center Point Parkway beautify their building facades and green areas near the roadway.  If we address the city’s major problems, and the city’s financial health improves, it will be time to implement more capital improvements like sidewalks.

One idea that I would like to workshop with other councilors is a food truck corral.  Food Trucks have become an important incubator for restaurateurs to try out innovative menus and processes, and have often led to the installation of a permanent restaurant.  I would propose that we adapt the Civitan Park property to support a food truck, with seating areas available for the customers.  Food truck owners would then be encouraged to schedule their trucks at the location for one day a week, and different trucks would be able to rotate in and out on different days.  By welcoming the food trucks, we would be bringing a varied and fun experience to both residents and passers-by, and also encouraging restaurateurs to see Center Point as a friendly place to set up a permanent location in the future.

The City and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce attend the International Conference of Shopping Centers annual convention each year as well as the regional ICSC meeting attended by the Chamber Economic Development Coordinator. These events are primarily recruiting venues for new businesses.  Both the City and the Chamber work closely with the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham to plan growth and development within the city.  The City of Center Point has also recently been named an Alabama Community of Excellence (ACE) which provides more grant opportunities for the City.  What other means would you employ to draw new businesses to our City?

Small business is the lifeblood of the American economy.  Center Point needs to be able to draw in individuals in the local area who want to establish or expand their small businesses, like restaurants and shops.  To do this, we need to change the perception of Center Point to be one of a welcoming and safe place to be, by engaging with local media and social media to show the great strides we are making, and the value of starting or moving a business to Center Point.  We can also directly reach out to local entrepreneurs who we believe would be a good fit for Center Point, and curate a shopping experience that meets the needs of both residents and those who pass through the area regularly.  Finally, the city government needs to aggressively slash red tape that prevents entrepreneurs from wanting to locate here.

The City has had a very aggressive grant writing program over the years that has gained the City over $12 million in services, inventory, construction and programs.  While grants do not fund operating expenses, they do allow the City to offer special programs that are over and above what the budget allows.  Some examples of things grants have funded in the City include:  law enforcement equipment and training, three additions to the Senior Center (including the one currently being constructed) as well as programs for seniors, all of the sidewalks within the city limits, the splash pad, energy efficiency grant to bring down utility costs, boardwalk at the Reed-Harvey Park, a playground at the community center, etc. What types of innovative programs would you envision our community having that might be accessible through grant writing?

If grant money is available, I would love to see more programs made available for community building and at-risk youth.  In particular, I would like to see programs that help direct young people towards lifelong hobbies and marketable trades, such as woodworking, metalworking, gardening, automotive repair, and other skills that both enrich a young person’s life and build confidence and skills that can make money.

Education:

Since our schools are a part of the Jefferson County School District, the City has limited input into their organization/structure. How can the City of Center Point best support the area schools in our city limits?

I believe that schools reach their fullest potential when there is a high degree of participation by parents.  Center Point needs to have a healthy PTA with the city government’s support to achieve this.

I also believe that, as a community, we can push for certain curriculum changes or reinforcements that will greatly benefit Center Point’s young citizens.  This includes making sure that part of the school day includes learning about emotional regulation, assertive communication, forming healthy relationships, and rejecting prejudice at all age levels, and job readiness and money management skills at the junior high and high school levels.

I would also like to create a junior police training program, to direct youth with a desire to protect their community into a career as law enforcement on the community policing model, and work with the schools’ student government organizations to create volunteer opportunities.  I believe this would help get our young people engaged with the community in a positive way and instill a sense of civic pride and duty.

Although our public library has an independent board, the city still supports the library financially.  What do you see as the city’s role as pertains to the library?

I believe that the city government’s role should primarily be financial support-essentially a silent partner which does not interfere in the library’s business.  As a community member, I would like to see the library continue to develop as a learning resource for the members of the community.  Libraries have changed significantly since the arrival of the Internet, but their core mission-to gather, protect, and disseminate knowledge-remains the same.

I have noticed that small town libraries have often added three very useful functions in the modern world, and I support Center Point’s library in achieving these functions as well:

  • Libraries have become the keepers of local history, gathering and protecting archives that pertain specifically to the local area or town where the library resides.
  • Libraries have begun to have extensive collections of local-interest genealogy information, making it easier for local residents and their descendants to research their own family history.
  • Many libraries have begun to integrate “maker spaces” into their floor plans, with computer-aided design equipment, 3D printers, and other tools being made available for public use. A maker space can even give younger residents a chance to learn important skills for the modern world.

Parks & Recreation:

Please name the existing services offered at each of the City’s parks that you are aware of and what services can be improved upon.

I am familiar with Reed-Harvey Park, the Civitan Park, and the sports park at the courthouse annex.  The park facilities themselves are quite nice.  I would like to see them used more often through community events, like the free movie nights that are currently held at Reed-Harvey Park.

Please state what additional recreational services you would like to see the City offer its residents.

I have mentioned that I would like to see a food truck corral set up at the Civitan Park.  But none of the city’s recreational services will be of any value without a focus on public safety and establishment of a Center Point Police Department.  People will stop using park facilities if they do not feel safe.

In addition, I believe that Center Point would greatly benefit from community building events.

  • City-sponsored neighborhood events, where residents can mingle, get to know each other, and enjoy their community. These could be working events, such as community cleanup, and fun events, such as neighborhood barbecues.
  • A city festival, similar to Trussville’s Dog Daze or Pinson’s Butterbean Festival, would be fun for both residents and visitors. The festival’s events could include historical reference to Center Point, such as a Polly Reed pie baking competition.
  • Car shows for local residents to gather and show off their custom work.
  • A barbecue cookoff, where we can show off our smoking skills.

Public Works:

Are there any areas of PUBLIC property within the City limits of Center Point that need improvements? Where and what improvements would you implement?

The Civitan Park facility needs cosmetic attention.  The courthouse sports park could also benefit from cosmetic upgrades.  For the most part, I think that the parks and rec department are doing a good job and have kept Center Point’s public outdoor areas in good shape.

Safety:

The US Department of Justice just completed a study of crime in the City of Center Point. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department has provided updated information for 2019 as well as amended information from the DOJ data.   This study is available to read on the city’s website (http://www.thecityofcenterpoint.org/DOJ%20report%20with%20City%20of%20Center%20Point%20reponses.pdf ).  Please state which of the study’s recommendations you would implement first and why.

The most important and immediate need is a direct challenge to violent crime and theft by the contract deputies.  Secondly, we need more community involvement with the deputies, building trust between the citizens and law enforcement, and a concerted effort to create a neighborhood watch system for each of Center Point’s neighborhoods.  The report recommends rolling this out in a single pilot neighborhood, and I would like see discussion with the deputies about which neighborhood should serve as the pilot, then push to bring the residents of that neighborhood into the program.

Funding and availability of law enforcement candidates are barriers to public safety in Center Point.  There is a national shortage of police academy candidates, primarily minority candidates as well as difficulty in retaining law enforcement officers once hired.  What would you do to attract additional competent officers/deputies to our City? For those who believe Center Point should have its own police department, how would you fund it (either using existing budgetary numbers or increased revenue from other sources)?

It is my belief that Center Point’s future hinges on community building and establishing a local police department.  Make no mistake-if Center Point does not create a police force to stand for the safety of its citizens and visitors, the city is lost.  We simply cannot afford to not have a police department.  While I believe that Center Point can be saved, the window to do so is closing rapidly.

The Center Point police department must be staffed with dedicated individuals who care about this community.  If it is properly managed, it will be possible to attract and retain the right kind of officers.  If Frederick Burkes is elected mayor, I truly believe that he will bring the right resources to bring public safety back to Center Point.

I would like to fund the police department with no loss of services or increased tax burden on the citizens of Center Point.  I believe this can be done with careful financial planning, use of available grants, and an eager, supportive attitude from the city’s citizens. But again, make no mistake:  Center Point will not survive without a police department, and we are nearly out of time to make this happen.

Senior Citizens:

Please list the programs that you are familiar with as pertains to the Senior Citizens Center.

I am aware of the lunch program and the Tai Chi classes.  As someone who is not yet a senior, I haven’t utilized the Senior Citizens Center.

The Senior Center is currently being enlarged through a Community Development Block grant.  With this extra space, what additional programs would you like to see implemented?

Seniors with whom I have spoken have told me that meal delivery and help with yard work are things they find important.  I would like to see more volunteer work being organized to make sure that Center Point’s seniors get help when they need it.  Recently, some people have started “50 Yard Challenges” for their teens to go out and find 50 yards of seniors and others who need help with yard work, and I would like to see the city come out in support of this type of volunteerism.

As for the physical space, I would defer to the staff and users of the senior center to know what types of programs they would like to have available.

Candidate Information:

Matt Ray grew up in Trussville and North Shelby County.  He has lived in the Birmingham area for most of his life, with stints in Florida and New York City, before choosing to make Center Point home in 2007.  He lives in a classic mid-century ranch home with his dogs and collections of books, tools, and things that he has made.  Matt holds a BFA degree in filmmaking from Florida State University and an MS degree in Management Information Systems from UAB, and is planning to return to school to seek a third degree in accounting.  Matt has started multiple small businesses over the years, including an IT services company and a video production company.  He has also worked as a television photojournalist, covering city, county, State, and federal government.

Tiffany Moore - Candidate Position Statement

Center Point Municipal Candidates -Position Statements

Tiffany Moore

Economic Development​:
What should be Center Point’s top Economic Development priority?

Center Point’s top priority for Economic Development should be to recruit commercial and community businesses and maintain viable businesses. Establishing an Economic and Development Task Force to work in conjunction with the Center Point Chamber of Commerce and Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham would support the efforts in recruiting businesses and identifying innovative ways to utilize vacant spaces. The city’s leadership should also have an open mind about entrepreneurs and investors willing to open their businesses in Center Point because their investment is what helps our economy to thrive. Small businesses are an important component of our economy, and city leadership should work towards creating opportunities for them to flourish. Partnerships should be established with current business owners in order to build relationships and to help keep them anchored in Center Point.

When it comes to Economic Development and growth, what are Center Point’s greatest challenges and greatest assets? ​

Center Point’s greatest challenges to Economic Development and growth is the high incidents of crime and the negative reputation the city has. In order to recruit new businesses to the city, the crime in the area must be addressed as well as the implementation of the recommendations from the Department of Justice Study. The Department of Justice Study outlines specific recommendations on how we can decrease crime, increase community engagement and provide consistent transparency from city leadership which will ultimately lead to an improved city image. I would be committed to working with investors, entrepreneurs, corporations and small business owners looking to open businesses in Center Point. Center Point’s greatest asset is the citizens that care deeply about the community in which we live. According to the Department of Justice Study (2018), results show that “68% percent of residents moved into their homes between 2000 and 2014 which indicates these people will be critical in building social cohesion and revitalization in areas”. Residents regularly support quality businesses in the city as a result there are several businesses that have sustained because of the support from our residents. I also recommend the city conduct an audit of the city’s finances to determine if budgets and expenditures are financially sound.

How would you prioritize Center Point’s capital improvement needs?

I would prioritize Center Point’s capital improvements needs by recommending installation of sidewalks and street lights, creation of green spaces and updating of the city’s infrastructure with the hopes of luring new businesses. I will collaborate with the mayor and council members to develop a strategic plan to remove blight from communities. I also propose establishing a Center Point Customer Service Center to address residents’ concerns about non-emergency issues like (clogged drains, potholes, animal control, etc.) this would be available online and by phone for residents to make requests. A dashboard of statistical data regarding residents’ requests and the city’s resolutions to requests should also be available online to promote transparency between city officials and residents. I recommend prioritizing the placement of speed bumps, additional street lights and sidewalks in residential areas. There is a great need for sidewalks along 23rd Avenue NW to ensure safety for children walking to and from the elementary, intermediate and middle school. Additionally, the city should continue to prioritize enforcing the upkeep of rental properties and apartment complexes. Lastly, a campaign to rehabilitate the city’s image should be initiated. Many citizens have expressed concern over the city’s image, and it is imperative that citizens are proud of the community in which we live.

The City and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce attend the International Conference of Shopping Centers annual convention each year as well as the regional ICSC meeting attended by the Chamber Economic Development Coordinator. These events are primarily recruiting venues for new businesses. Both the City and the Chamber work closely with the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham to plan growth and development within the city. The City of Center Point has also recently been named an Alabama Community of Excellence (ACE) which provides more grant opportunities for the City. What other means would you employ to draw new businesses to our City? ​

To jump start revitalization and growth in the city, incentives should be considered to recruit new businesses. In order to build and sustain a thriving community, a strategic plan to recruit commercial and small businesses must be implemented. I propose establishing an Economic and Development Task Force to identify locations which would be viable for commercial and retail businesses. Updating the city’s infrastructure should also be considered in order to lure new businesses to the city. I also propose developing an online dashboard which highlights and provides metrics on the city’s economy, high school graduation rates, population and current businesses. This will provide investors and entrepreneurs with vital information about our economy in hopes of swaying them to invest in our city. Providing this information would now only help to recruit new businesses, but it will also allow for residents to stay informed on the economic development and growth in the city.

The City has had a very aggressive grant writing program over the years that has gained the City over $12 million in services, inventory, construction and programs. While grants do not fund operating expenses, they do allow the City to offer special programs that are over and above what the budget allows. Some examples of things grants have funded in the City include: law enforcement equipment and training, three additions to the Senior Center (including the one currently being constructed) as well as programs for seniors, all of the sidewalks within the city limits, the splash pad, energy efficiency grant to bring down utility costs, boardwalk at the Reed-Harvey Park, a playground at the community center, etc. What types of innovative programs would you envision our community having that might be accessible through grant writing?

​Innovative programs I envision for our community consists of accessing grants which focus on public safety. These types of grants would be beneficial in implementing crime fighting strategies which focus on developing innovative policing policies, training community leaders in order to establish effective Neighborhood Watch Programs and implementing a community policing program. Based on statistics from the Department of Justice Study, domestic violence incidents, for several years, were higher than both burglaries and robberies. Obtaining grants which provide resources and support to victims of domestic violence would help in decreasing the number of incidents in our city. Grants which focus on creating community green-spaces, specifically community gardens, would also be valuable in providing access to fresh fruits and vegetables, enhancing the aesthetics of the community and more importantly creating a sense of “community” among residents.  Research shows that community gardens have been associated with other changes in the community including increased rates of home-ownership and enhances the positive perception of residential properties located in the area. More importantly, the Department of Justice Study also recommends installing sidewalks and improving green spaces in an effort to create social cohesion in the community. Lastly, I propose seeking grants which focus on increasing and improving police protection and that allows the city to implement innovative policing policies and safety strategies to help keep our residents safe.

Education​:

Since our schools are a part of the Jefferson County School District, the City has limited input into their organization/structure. How can the City of Center Point best support the area schools in our city limits? ​

The City of Center Point can best support area schools within the city limits by budgeting money which would be earmarked for programs geared towards at-risk students. A majority of the students in our local schools are faced with many challenges which create barriers to learning. The city should prioritize collaborating with community organizations and stakeholders to enhance the lives of the city’s children through partnering with local businesses to create apprenticeships and internships for Center Point High Students. I also propose that the city provide paid internship opportunities to students enrolled in our Career and Technical Education Programs. I recommend establishing a Community Partnership Committee to work on bridging the gap between the community and city leaders, and this committee would spearhead and cultivate relationships with children in our area schools. I also propose establishing a Student Advisory Committee to encourage more students to get involved in their community through a variety of community service initiatives throughout our neighborhoods. Additionally, I propose each council member “adopt a school” and serve as a liaison between the council and school.

Although our public library has an independent board, the city still supports the library financially. What do you see as the city’s role as pertains to the library?

I think the role of the city is to continue to provide financial support to ensure citizens receive quality service and support at the library. The city should work with the library on implementing the library’s mission and initiatives.

Parks & Recreation​:

Please name the existing services offered at each of the City’s parks that you are aware of and what services can be improved upon. ​

I am aware of the youth sports programs offered by Parks and Recreation because my son who is now 17 years old began participating in both football and baseball at about the age of 4 years old and continued until he entered middle school sports. I was able to witness firsthand the remarkable job that the Parks and Recreation Staff does with the youth sports programs. Some of my fondest memories with my son happened at the sports complex. I met some great men and women throughout the time my son was involved with youth sports, and his teammates and their parents became our extended family. We still keep in touch with many of the people we met 13 years ago. I am happy that those programs continue to be a great outlet for the children in our community. The Department Justice Study recommends creating activities in which young people can get involved and the youth sports programs exceed expectations. The Parks and Recreation Staff are doing an amazing job with all programs. Please state what additional recreational services you would like to see the City offer its residents. ​As a mother of two children who utilize wheelchairs, I would like to see more inclusive and accessible programs offered for those with limited mobility. We are fortunate to have the Lakeshore Foundation in Birmingham that offers accessible and adaptive programs, but it would be awesome if we had access to those same programs closer to home. It would also give other children in the community an opportunity to interact with children that they may not otherwise engage with. More importantly, this will promote acceptance and inclusiveness as well as provide children with an opportunity to learn about and appreciate children who are different.

If you have visited the new Community Center, please give your impressions of the positives of this facility and what you would improve upon within current budgetary funding. ​

I’ve visited the Community Center once, and as someone who works out regularly, I was very impressed with the facility. Although I’ve only visited once, I have heard about the superb classes that are offered. I personally know several people who are members, and they constantly rave about the quality of programs, instructors and equipment. The only suggestion I have is to create a partnership with community organizations willing to provide financial support to give disadvantaged families an opportunity to participate in youth sports and Community Center programs.

Public Works​:

Are there any areas of PUBLIC property within the City limits of Center Point that need improvements?

In my opinion, the greatest need of improvement in the city involves stopping people from dumping in residential areas, keeping our residential streets clean, and removing blight from our communities. Measures should be taken to deter dumping in our communities. Where and what improvements would you implement?​ I propose working with the Public Works Staff to identify areas with high incidents of dumping as well as establishing a Public Works Committee of both city officials and citizens to work towards identifying solutions for the dumping. I know in the past, city officials have prioritized removing blight from our communities so I would like to continue those efforts. As I stated earlier, Proposed establishing a Center Point Customer Service Center to address​​residents ‘concerns about non-emergency issues like (clogged drains, potholes, animal control, etc.) in order to better streamline requests and concerns​.

Safety​:

The US Department of Justice just completed a study of crime in the City of Center Point. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department has provided updated information for 2019 as well as amended information from the DOJ data. This study is available to read on the city’s website                   (http://www.thecityofcenterpoint.org/DOJ%20report%20with%20City%20of%20Center%20Point%20reponses.pdf​ ).

Please state which of the study’s recommendations you would implement first and why. ​

I am aware the city has approved to increase the number of contract deputies which is a great start; however, the Department of Justice recommends that contract deputies focus on responding to violent and property crimes. Based on residents’ survey responses in the Department of Justice Study, additional police protection is their main concern so utilizing deputies for serious crimes instead of enforcing city ordinances should be a priority. Assigning a contract deputy to serve as a “community” deputy to engage with the community in areas with high incidents of crime is another recommendation which should be prioritized. Other recommendations I would implement is to establish the CenterPoint Safety Dashboard and expand the Neighborhood Watch Program. I think that the dashboard is important because it would provide citizens with critical information on property, domestic and violent crimes committed. Not only would this increase transparency between city leaders and residents it would provide residents with statistical data on crimes in our community. This dashboard should be easily accessible on the city’s web page. The Department of Justice recommends implementing a Neighborhood Watch Program beginning with a “pilot neighborhood” and once it is established and functioning effectively, introduce it into other neighborhoods. All of the recommendations provided in the Department of Justice Study would need to be implemented and practiced with fidelity in order to have an impact on decreasing the crime in our city. Although these are three recommendations I think are critical to improving the lives of our residents, the following are my ideas for creating a safer Center Point:

●Develop a Safety Task Force to meet and work in conjunction with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.

●Create an action plan based on recommendations from the study by the Department of Justice.

●Coordinate with Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department to develop community partnerships with residents to increase community engagement.

●Increase patrolling in areas with high incidents of criminal activity.

●Implement accountability measures for property owners with repeated incidents of violence and criminal activity on properties.

Funding and availability of law enforcement candidates are barriers to public safety in CenterPoint. There is a national shortage of police academy candidates, primarily minority candidates as well as difficulty in retaining law enforcement officers once hired. What would you do to attract additional competent officers/deputies to our City? ​

To assist the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department in recruiting and maintaining officers, I propose the city provide incentives for the deputies to commit to working in the city. I am aware that deputies are reassigned within a specific time frame so I propose working with Sheriff Mark Pettway to implement an assignment policy which would benefit both officers and residents because officers would have the opportunity to build relationships with residents in the community. For those who believe Center Point should have its own police department, how would you fund it (either using existing budgetary numbers or increased revenue from other sources)? ​I believe the first step in determining the budgetary numbers for a police department would be to conduct a feasibility study to determine if the city has the revenue to establish and sustain a fully operational and effective police department. The feasibility study should provide current and future projections needed to implement a viable police department. In my opinion, there is no way to make this decision without first conducting a feasibility study.

Senior Citizens:

Please list the programs that you are familiar with as pertains to the Senior Citizens Center.

I am aware that the Senior Citizens Center provides a variety of activities throughout the day including health education, line dances, bike classes and trips to different attractions.

The Senior Center is currently being enlarged through a Community Development Block grant. With this extra space, what additional programs would you like to see implemented?

​Being that I enjoy working out, I would like to see the expansion of health and fitness activities to encourage healthy lifestyle choices.

Candidate Information:

Please provide a short biography that will let people know a little about who you are and your connection to Center Point.

Tiffany Collins Moore is a native of Birmingham, Alabama. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Collaborative Education from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and a Master’s degree in Special Education 6-12 from the University of West Alabama. Tiffany also holds a National Board Teacher Certification as an Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood Through Young Adulthood. She has been a special education teacher for 17 and a half years with the last three years being at Center Point High School. Tiffany received the 2009-2010 Secondary Teacher of the Year Award when employed with the Fairfield City School System. She worked in the Fairfield City Schools System for nine years and has been employed with Jefferson County Schools for eight years. Tiffany has served as a mentor to new teachers and a Candidate Support Specialist for teachers pursuing National Board Teacher Certification. Additionally, Tiffany works as a Content Support Specialist with Teach for America. Tiffany and her husband, Dwight, have been married for 10 years, and together they have5 children. Recently, Tiffany began a blog titled “Moms Inspiring Moms” to chronicle her journey of caring for her 8 year-old twin boys who both have a physical disability as well as to encourage and provide support for other mothers of warriors. It is her goal, to one day start a support group and nonprofit organization which supports mothers of children with disabilities. Tiffany has also been an active supporter and fundraiser for the Alabama Muscular Dystrophy Association in which her twin boys served as the 2018 Alabama Goodwill Ambassadors.

Ebonee Hammonds - Candidate Position Statement

Ebonee Hammonds

Center Point City Council Place 5 Candidate

Position Statements

Economic Development

What should be Center Point’s top Economic Development priority?

Answer: Center Point’s top economic development priority must be being innovative in recruiting new businesses to Center Point.  Currently there are an abundance of empty store fronts, and commercial property.  Over the past several years there have been too many businesses that have left the city.  Center Point needs more businesses that will be willing to come to Center Point and stay and be successful.  More businesses will be an asset to the city because it will bring in more tax revenue which will be beneficial to the city.  More businesses will create more jobs, and hopefully bring new people to the city to live.  Business that come in an thrive will attract other businesses to come, which will create a steady rise in economic development.  I also think more entertainment will be an asset to Center Point.  I would like to see more sit-down restaurants in the city as well as other entertainment businesses such as a bowling alley and maybe a movie theater.  We would be able to get the residents in Center Point to spend more money in the city instead of having to go to other cities for those amenities, which in turn will increase tax revenue.

When it comes to Economic Development and growth, what are Center Point’s greatest challenges and greatest assets?

Answer: The greatest challenge that Center Point has is regards to economic development and growth is that fact that we currently have a crime problem in the area.  Many businesses will look at the crime issue as a deterrent to coming into the city and opening businesses.  I would like to see Center Point start a small business development program that will provide education and financial resources to current and future business owners.  This will enable current small business owners to have the assistance needed to stay profitable and keep their businesses open.  The program will also be a great help to any entrepreneurs in the city who would like to open a storefront or have an office space in the community get the education and resources to start their business and get adequate funding.  The greatest assets that Center Point has when it comes to economic development and growth is that fact that it is in an area where very many people pass through to get to another area.  There is always potential traffic that will allow any new businesses to have potential customers. I would like Center Point to be more engaging with local employers to see what their needs are in the workforce, and work with local colleges to find out what they are doing to address local workforce needs.  I think that it will be essential to form partnerships with local community organizations to get residents the education and training needed to accommodate the employers in Center Point.

How would you prioritize Center Point’s capital improvement needs?

Answer:  I prioritize Center Point’s capital improvement needs to be a top priority.  Capital improvement goes hand in hand with economic development.  Center Point does have a lot of empty commercial property that could possibly be renovated so that new businesses could occupy those spaces.  The owners of the empty commercial properties need to agree to renovate those properties and bring them up to date.  There are a lot of buildings that are very old and will not attract potential businesses to occupy those spaces, so I do think that there does need to be new infrastructure brought to the city in order to be appealing to new businesses.

The City and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce attend the International Conference of Shopping Centers annual convention each year as well as the regional ICSC meeting attended by the Chamber Economic Development Coordinator. These events are primarily recruiting venues for new businesses. Both the City and the Chamber work closely with the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham to plan growth and development within the city. The City of Center Point has also recently been named an Alabama Community of Excellence (ACE) which provides more grant opportunities for the City. What other means would you employ to draw new businesses to our City?

Answer: I think that offering incentives to businesses that are considering opening in Center Point will be attractive.  Incentives such as tax abatements for several years. Another great way to draw new businesses to Center Point will be to offer discounted fees and permits.  If a company wants to build a new space for their business the city could also consider giving them a property tax break for a period.

The City has had a very aggressive grant writing program over the years that has gained the City over $12 million in services, inventory, construction and programs. While grants do not fund operating expenses, they do allow the City to offer special programs that are over and above what the budget allows. Some examples of things grants have funded in the City include: law enforcement equipment and training, three additions to the Senior Center (including the one currently being constructed) as well as programs for seniors, all of the sidewalks within the city limits, the splash pad, energy efficiency grant to bring down utility costs, boardwalk at the Reed Harvey Park, a playground at the community center, etc. What types of innovative programs would you envision our community having that might be accessible through grant writing?

Answer:  There are several programs and amenities that I would like to see available to residents in Center Point.  First, I would like to see better lighting in the city.  There are areas even on residential streets that are too dark and can cause people to be more comfortable to commit crimes.  I would also like to see a mentoring program for school age children and young adults in the city that will assist in helping our children and young adult be more successful in school and prepared for college or staring their own business.  Another program I would like to see in Center Point is something related to the Arts.  I think that it would be a good outlet for residents just like sports is.  Another program that I would like for Center Point would be a gardening and landscaping club for children and adults.  This will help to encourage people to get involved with making their city a more visually appealing while creating a sense of community.

Education:

Since our schools are a part of the Jefferson County School District, the City has limited input into their organization/structure. How can the City of Center Point best support the area schools in our city limits?

Answer: Center Point can support area schools by helping to sponsor trainings for educators along with what the schools already offer.  Center Point could also assist area schools in helping to support any before and after school programs with any supplies or other resources that is needed.  I think an internship program for high school students would also be a great investment into the city because it will allow students to get an idea of how the city runs and also give them access to skills needed in being successful in the workforce.

Although our public library has an independent board, the city still supports the library financially. What do you see as the city’s role as pertains to the library?

Answer: I see the city’s role as it pertains to the library as not only a financial role, but a role of support as well.  Often libraries become a hub for the city.  It gives people access to information and becomes a place where a lot of activities that benefit the city are taking place.  Libraries are a key source of early childhood education which is an investment in residents in the city.  Libraries can also be support service for local small businesses by proving online resources that is needed to succeed in an increasingly competitive small business environment.  It is important that the city support the library in helping to reach residents in letting the know what services are provided by the library.  The city can also be an integral part in referring community programs to the library for partnering on projects aimed to better the community.

Parks & Recreation:

Please name the existing services offered at each of the City’s parks that you are aware of and what services can be improved upon.

Answer: Some of the services that I am aware of offered at the city’s parks are youth sports which include, football, basketball, cheerleading, and baseball.  I am also aware of the Sports Complex, the Splash Pad, and the area to fish at Reed- Harvey Park.  There is also pavilion rental available at both Civitan and Reed-Harvey Park.  I am excited to see the children be able to fully enjoy the Splash Pad now that it has opened back up to the public.  I would like to see longer hours for the Splash Pad and hopefully open to the public some hours on the weekends for more residents to enjoy.

Please state what additional recreational services you would like to see the City offer its residents.

Answer:  I would like to see more youth sports started such as soccer and gymnastics.  I think gymnastics will be an outlet to get more young girls involved in sports.

If you have visited the new Community Center, please give your impressions of the positives of this facility and what you would improve upon within current budgetary funding.

Answer:  I have been to the new Community Center attending a youth basketball game, and I also had my bridal shower there in June.  I have to say that the community center was nice each time I have visited.  It appeared to be very well maintained and the staff were very professional and accommodating.

Public Works:

Are there any areas of PUBLIC property within the City limits of Center Point that need improvements? Where and what improvements would you implement?

Answer:  I would like to see more clean up done and maintenance on the streets within Center Point.  A lot of residential areas, especially close to apartment complexes are filled with litter and trash which makes our neighborhoods unappealing.

Safety:

The US Department of Justice just completed a study of crime in the City of Center Point. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department has provided updated information for 2019 as well as amended information from the DOJ data. This study is available to read on the city’s website (http://www.thecityofcenterpoint.org/DOJ%20report%20with%20City%20of%20Center%20Poi nt%20reponses.pdf ). Please state which of the study’s recommendations you would implement first and why. Funding and availability of law enforcement candidates are barriers to public safety in Center Point. There is a national shortage of police academy candidates, primarily minority candidates as well as difficulty in retaining law enforcement officers once hired. What would you do to attract additional competent officers/deputies to our City? For those who believe Center Point should have its own police department, how would you fund it (either using existing budgetary numbers or increased revenue from other sources)?

Answer: The study’s recommendation that I would want to implement first would be implementing concepts of community policing that include deputies patrolling and making more contact with hot spot areas and by being active in neighborhood watch meetings.  The relationship between deputies and the residents of Center Point is strained and needs to be rebuilt again.  I think that more deputies being allowed to patrol and going into the neighborhoods to speak with residents to find out what their issues are will help to build a strong relationship between residents and officers.  I would also like to see more deputies follow up with residents who have been the victims of crime so that they will be aware of the status of their case and won’t feel like they’re being forgotten.

Right now, there is nothing that the council can do to attract officers because Center Point is being patrolled by Jefferson County.  In the future I do hope that Center Point can get to a place sooner than later to be able to have their own police department.  Existing budgetary data shows that currently Center Point is not in a position financially to fund and operate a police department.  I have heard of candidates referring to grants as a mean of funding, but I’m not sure if that is completely viable for continuous funding that will be needed.  Grants are usually not guaranteed, or one-time funding source or only a certain amount of time.  We would need o be ale to continuously fund and operate a police department.  Therefore, economic development must be a top priority of focus for the city.  If the city can bring in more tax revenue, then it will be possible to effectively start and maintain a police department.

Senior Citizens:

Please list the programs that you are familiar with as pertains to the Senior Citizens Center. The Senior Center is currently being enlarged through a Community Development Block grant. With this extra space, what additional programs would you like to see implemented?

Answer:  I am familiar with several different programs at the Senior Citizens Center such as the Walking Club and the Health & Wellness Fairs.  I am also aware of the Walking Club and Line Dancing.  Another great program that the Senior Center does to help the seniors is the assistance with Meals on Wheels, and they also have personal care & grooming classes available. The seniors at the center play Bingo.   I also know that they take the seniors for outings to restaurants and farmers markets.  I would like to see the city partner with local facilities such as the nearest YMCA to provide access to their pools for the seniors who would like to use the pool for exercise classes, and the Senior Citizen Center could provide transportation to the nearest YMCA for the seniors to participate in any swimming/exercise classes.  I would like to also like to have a program onsite where seniors could get referral sources for financial assistance, healthcare assistance, or counseling assistance.

Candidate Information:

Please provide a short biography that will let people know a little about who you are and your connection to Center Point.

Biography:  My name is Ebonee Hammonds, and I am a candidate for the Center Point City Council Place 5.  I have been a current homeowner here in Center Point for about 4 years.  I have been an Auditor for the Jefferson County Commission in the Revenue Department since 2016.  I have an MBA with a concentration in Public Administration.  I am a current member of the County Revenue Officers Association of Alabama.  I held a Treasurer position on the Travelers Aid of Greater Birmingham Junior Board for several years.  I am recently married and have three children.  I love to be of service and help to others.  I am looking forward to helping Center Point to grow economically and better than ever before.

DM Collins Candidate Position Statement

Candidate Position Statements

DM Collins

Center Point Municipal Candidates

Position Statements

Economic Development:

What should be Center Point’s top Economic Development priority?

Center Point should be working to bolster economic development by increasing businesses and working to establish a more diverse business index.

When it comes to Economic Development and growth, what are Center Point’s greatest challenges and greatest assets?

Location is a great asset. However, the city is not taking full advantage of this; the Parkway is the blueprint of a successful, business filled destination, but many properties are outdated, unmaintained, unattended, and uninviting.

How would you prioritize Center Point’s capital improvement needs?

1. Improve Public Safety

2. Commercial Development Projects

3. Park Revitalizations

The City and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce attend the International Conference of Shopping Centers annual convention each year as well as the regional ICSC meeting attended by the Chamber Economic Development Coordinator. These events are primarily recruiting venues for new businesses.  Both the City and the Chamber work closely with the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham to plan growth and development within the city.  The City of Center Point has also recently been named an Alabama Community of Excellence (ACE) which provides more grant opportunities for the City.  What other means would you employ to draw new businesses to our City?

  • Major development projects along the Parkway and throughout the community
  • Tax incentives to business owners through abatements
  • Ensure permit requirements are clear and sensible

The City has had a very aggressive grant writing program over the years that has gained the City over $12 million in services, inventory, construction and programs.  While grants do not fund operating expenses, they do allow the City to offer special programs that are over and above what the budget allows.  Some examples of things grants have funded in the City include:  law enforcement equipment and training, three additions to the Senior Center (including the one currently being constructed) as well as programs for seniors, all of the sidewalks within the city limits, the splash pad, energy efficiency grant to bring down utility costs, boardwalk at the Reed-Harvey Park, a playground at the community center, etc. What types of innovative programs would you envision our community having that might be accessible through grant writing?

  • More sidewalks
  • Promotional and economic development projects
  • Creating more green spaces in the city
  • Park revitalizations
  • More lighting throughout the entire city

Education:

Since our schools are a part of the Jefferson County School District, the City has limited input into their organization/structure. How can the City of Center Point best support the area schools in our city limits?

The city can best support the area schools through monetary donations to provide students with more resources and through partnerships with the community center and library.

Although our public library has an independent board, the city still supports the library financially.  What do you see as the city’s role as pertains to the library?

The city has a financial role to the library. We must work to ensure community programs are readily available to citizens in a central location, the library is a great tool and location for community programs for students, children, and adults.

Parks & Recreation:

Please name the existing services offered at each of the City’s parks that you are aware of and what services can be improved upon. Parks and Recreation is one of the City’s greatest assets

Reed Harvey Park

Existing services- Senior Citizen Activity Center, Splash Pad, Amphitheater, walking trail, and Fishing

Improvements

  • Pedestrian access to the park could be improved by installing sidewalks
  • Install more lights along on Polly Reed Road, the perimeter of the park, and in the amphitheater area
  • Utilize the amphitheater area for more activities- art festivals, small music shows, holiday festivals, etc.
  • Add retaining wall to amphitheater area and flower bed

Civitan Park

Existing Services- Boys Scouts Center

Improvements

  • Add all-inclusive playground area
  • More lighting throughout the park
  • Better parking across the street with walking bridge over the parkway for easy safe access
  • Updated fencing

Sports Complex

Existing Services- baseball, softball and a football field.

This park has recently been updated, which is great; the city should continue to maintain it.

Courthouse Park

Existing Services- walking trails, tennis court, softball and softball fields.

Improvement- Let me first correct something I stated previously in a graphic released by my team. This park does have restrooms. Because this park is leased from Jefferson County, I think the city should be very strategic with monies put into the facility. Money should be used to ensure the park is properly maintained, functional, and presentable.

Please state what additional recreational services you would like to see the City offer its residents.

I would like to see the city put on more diverse events at the parks, inclusive activities and sports programs for disabled children and children who have interest in other sports.

If you have visited the new Community Center, please give your impressions of the positives of this facility and what you would improve upon within current budgetary funding.

The Community Center offers great activities for both youth and adults with the open basketball court, the fitness room, and fitness classrooms. I think the building’s exterior could use some maintenance, i.e. pressure washing.

Public Works:

Are there any areas of PUBLIC property within the City limits of Center Point that need improvements? Where and what improvements would you implement?

Clearing litter, illegal dumping, and over grown right of ways in a timely manner are issues that the city should work to improve.

Safety:

The US Department of Justice just completed a study of crime in the City of Center Point. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department has provided updated information for 2019 as well as amended information from the DOJ data.   This study is available to read on the city’s website (http://www.thecityofcenterpoint.org/DOJ%20report%20with%20City%20of%20Center%20Point%20reponses.pdf ).  Please state which of the study’s recommendations you would implement first and why.

DOJ Recommendation- CenterPoint should review the current contract with the JFSO and develop an updated model that would focus contract deputies on violent and property crimes and developing relationships with the community.

The city does currently have contract deputies, but these deputies work to enforce city ordinance and back up the regular duty sheriff’s deputies. It is my recommendation that more contract deputies are added and their focus should shift to violent and property crime by implementing the Hot Spots and Community Policing Strategy.

The goal of the Hot Spots strategy is to improve order in specific high crime areas to create broad crime reduction results across the greater area.  Community Policing is, in essence, a partnership between the police and the community working to identify and solve community problems.

Funding and availability of law enforcement candidates are barriers to public safety in Center Point.  There is a national shortage of police academy candidates, primarily minority candidates as well as difficulty in retaining law enforcement officers once hired.  What would you do to attract additional competent officers/deputies to our City? For those who believe Center Point should have its own police department, how would you fund it (either using existing budgetary numbers or increased revenue from other sources)?

There are many ways to attract interest in employment- sign-on bonuses and great benefit packages, to name a couple.

If the finances show that the city can start and maintain a police department I would definitely agree to the establishment of a department. If that is not the case, as an immediate course of action, I think it’s important that we work more progressively with the JCSO on better methods to improve public safety.

I don’t think it’s a great idea to depend solely on grants and donations from other police departments, (as other candidates have recommended) to cover the expense of a police department.

The goal is a safe city not a bankrupt city.

Senior Citizens:

Please list the programs that you are familiar with as pertains to the Senior Citizens Center.

The Senior Center is currently being enlarged through a Community Development Block grant.  With this extra space, what additional programs would you like to see implemented?

The Center offers various programs that promote health, nutrition, and activity. In the additional space, I would like to see a small lightweight fitness room and office space for information and assistance programs.

Candidate Information:

Please provide a short biography that will let people know a little about who you are and your connection to Center Point.

Dy’Quese Collins works in Biotechnology Regulatory Affairs. She grew up right down the road from Center Point in Huffman, where she graduated from Ramsay High School. She went on to the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she received her Bachelors of Science in Healthcare Management. She is currently in school finishing up her Masters of Science in Health Services administration. She has worked in healthcare for nearly 10 years. A little over 3 years ago as a first time home buyer, she chose Center Point to call home. Dy’Quese has always had a heart to serve and looks forward to serving the people of Center Point for the next 4 years.


Candidate Forum 2020 Municipal Election

City Council Place Five

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Candidate Forum 2020 Municipal Election

City Council Place Four

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Candidate Forum 2020 Municipal Election

City Council Place Three

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