What led you to make Hoover home, and how did you get started in your current role?
In my early years, I worked for Brice Building and my wife worked as a nurse for West End Baptist Hospital, which is now known as Princeton. We bought a lot off of Patton Chapel Road on Mayflower Drive before Hoover was incorporated. We decided on this location because it was more conveniently located for our jobs and family. But before we could build a house, I received a call to serve my country. We finally built a house in December 1969, two years after the City of Hoover was incorporated.
I came to work for Hoover as a temporary employee hired to oversee the construction of the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. I had just left the position of laborer commissioner for the State of Alabama. While I oversaw the building of the stadium, I received additional projects and responsibilities related to the City. By the time the stadium was complete, I was hired as a direct full-time employee. I have thoroughly enjoyed my years with the City and all the opportunities and challenges along the way.
What makes you the most proud to be a Hoover resident?
My wife, Edna, and I raised our two sons in Hoover. They graduated from Berry High School. One graduated from Alabama and the other from Auburn. They married and gave my wife and me six beautiful and talented grandchildren who are also growing up and going to school in Hoover. I’m proud to be a part of a growing and progressive, forward-thinking city.
What are your top priorities for the 2013-14 year as it relates to the City?
My position provides direction to all department heads with exception of police and fire departments, and I report directly to the mayor. In looking forward to the 2014 year, we will continue to strive for growth and stability in this fragile economy.
The City has been able to stay in the black every year by coming together and working towards the same goals. Department heads cooperate with each other to meet the needs of each department and come together collectively to meet the needs of the City as a whole.
As we continue to move forward, our goal is to continue to provide a high level of service to the citizens. One of the leading concerns among municipalities nationwide is the lack of maintenance of roads, bridges, facilities and other infrastructure due to a sluggish economy. It is a challenge to maintain aging infrastructure within a tight budget. However, Hoover continues to improve infrastructure with a strategic road expansion and improvement program.
We work to meet the diverse needs of the citizenry from sports programs and facilities for all ages and genders to special needs such as the Miracle Field being constructed at Hoover East.
Another challenging area in a weak economy is redevelopment. The City worked to purchase an apartment complex on Lorna Road, demolish it and resell the property, which is now the Walmart Neighborhood Market that recently opened. This single redevelopment project has renewed interest in this area of the City for retailers with Bargain Hunt opening in the former Food World location across the road. I expect we will see additional new retailers and restaurants come to the area.
The departure of the Birmingham Barons from the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium provided an opportunity to repurpose an existing facility without the purchase of land or new construction. We are working to bring new events to this facility that will fill hotels and restaurants. This year was the first Freedom Fest at the Met where citizens could enjoy several hours of live music culminating in a huge fireworks show. The crowd filled the stadium and parking lots even though the weather was not favorable.
Even the Riverchase Galleria is part of a redevelopment strategy with the hotel recently upgraded to a Hyatt Regency, allowing for a broader online reservation market. The redevelopment of the former Macy’s into Von Maur is tentatively set to open on Nov. 2 in time for the holiday shopping season. There are other projects that are too early to speak about publicly.
What is one thing readers may not know about you?
I have trouble with colors. My sweet wife lays out my clothes each day. If she’s out of town and I substitute what she’s laid out in advance, people sometimes notice.