By Harold Bearden
Monday, June 15, 2015 | 12:06 PM
Haleyville Mayor Ken Sunseri recently spoke to the Haleyville Rotary Club about his message of change. He pointed out that many once successful businesses in Haleyville are now gone. Specifically, he asked if anyone remembered Haleyville Textile, Tidwell Industries, Formed Tubes, Feldman's, McCrackin Dairy Freeze, Walker Swims Cafe, Dr. Wilson's Hospital, Dr. Manasco"s Hospital, Dr. Blake's Hospital, the Greyhound Bus Station, Bates Drug Store, Joe Cagle Cafe. He pointed out, those businesses are no longer here. These are part of the changes which has taken place in our lifetime.
Sunseri stated, "sometimes we have to separate emotion from logic." He made the point to illustrate the selling of city hall, built in 1958, to CVS and building a new city hall. Basically, CVS made an offer the city could not refuse, $1.3 million. Sunseri stated it was to the benefit of the city to sell and build new. In addition to purchasing the city hall, the main fire station was also was included, resulting in two new buildings. The new city hall is under construction at a cost of $1.7 million. The new fire department building, located on Highway 13 North at 6th Avenue and should be occupied this week. The new fire station cost approximately $800,000.
In the past six and one half years, the city has acquired $8.2 million in federal and state funding because the city had many needs, and still has many needs.
The contract calls for the city hall to be finished in October, but realistically, Mayor Sunseri said, it may be December, or even January. The new sports complex is being bided off. Many other projects are underway, or being applied for including new aircraft hangers at the airport which has already been funded for $300,000.
Retail changes includes the new Walmart and the businesses located in the old Walmart building. Sales and occupational taxes are both up for the last eight months. Financially, the city is doing well.
Industry wise, Fontaine has orders and is booked up through December and has put on another shift. Kith Industries started with 149 employees and is now employing 636 and has opened a plant in Bear Creek.
"Overall, our industries are doing well," he said. Part of the problem of bringing in new industry is uncertainty, such as how Obama Care will play out. However, the city is searching for new industry. One of the problems is our young people are moving away to seek better paying jobs. A great asset of this area is the lower cost of living.
Sunseri pointed out the largest crowd ever attended this year's 9-1-1 Festival. Sunseri thanked the Chamber and city employees for it's success.
The Haleyville City Council meets the first and third Mondays at 5:30 at the Neighborhood Facilities Building. The public is always welcomed.