Over the past four years, in the midst of the deepest recession this country has experienced since the Great Depression, as gas prices soared and budgets were stretched to their limits, we still managed to get some positive things done in the City of Helena, and plan to do even more in the future!

Highlights from the last four Years
     
  • With the help of our local girl scouts, I worked to institute a curbside recycling program that is ongoing.
  • Obtained grants and utilized volunteer labor to build a multi-purpose community/recreation center of which any small town would be proud.
  • Worked continuously to keep Helena at the forefront of state and federal transportation department and government officials so that when infrastructure funds are available, our Hwy 261 bypass, which will span both railroad tracks, will be built. Phase I and II are already completed, including the time consuming federal environmental impact studies. Properties along the route are now being purchased as the final design and engineering drawings are completed.
  • Worked with local volunteers, the city council and the Alabama Department of Agriculture to bring a Saturday’s Farmer’s Market to Helena, giving residents an opportunity to buy fresh, locally grown produce at prices straight from the growers. It has turned into an event that brings leading Birmingham area chef demonstrations to Helena and features additional activities for residents to enjoy each Saturday during the summer.
  • Continued to host annual events such as the Helena Christmas Parade, Helena Easter Egg Hunt, and Independence Day celebration with music and fireworks.
  • Worked diligently to bring new businesses to Helena and provide inexpensive ways in which businesses here can advertise their goods and services.
  • Worked with Dave Smith to produce the Helena City News in full color AT NO ADDITIONAL COST to the city, plus added a website for the newsletter so it can be posted online in a “flip book” format.
  • CNN Money Magazine named Helena one of the Top 100 Best Places to live in America for the second time.
  • Even though Helena collects the lowest millage rates of property taxes of any municipality in Shelby County, city services in Helena have remained top notch, with no full time employee layoffs. This is due to careful planning, but most importantly, a dedicated group of city employees, each of whom decided to take on more than their share of work to keep your city services operating efficiently.
  • Asked for and received federal help from Congressman Bachus, who enabled us to secure a $560,000 grant which let us to put all our part-time firefighters back to work during the depths of the recession.

 

     

 
  • Following a long review process, the Helena Fire Department earned top scores, enabling the city’s fire safety rating to improve from a 5 to a 3, resulting in lower property insurance rates for Helena residents.
  • Built a special needs rest room next to the “All Kids Boundless Playground” at Joe Tucker Park.
  • Re-worked much of the city’s existing clay sewer lines with a plastic lining and installed a SCADA system, which allows a city employee to monitor the city’s 45 pumps and respond to a problem soon after it occurs. This work was made possible by a $1 million grant obtained with the help of both Congressman Bachus and Senator Shelby.
  • Cut the ribbon for Hillsboro Parkway, a road that will hold much future development. It connects CR 52W with Hwy 17 and will ultimately tie in to the Hwy 261 bypass. It also gives better access to our new middle school.
  • Worked with Congressman Bachus to secure a $136,000 grant to purchase much needed fire equipment including thermal imaging cameras allowing firefighters to see people through smoke and potentially saving lives.
  • Helena was recognized nationally by Reader’s Digest for having “the most community spirit.”  We received a $1,000 check from them and a visit from their national touring group.
  • Worked with Congressman Bachus to secure a $90,000 grant to purchase new heart monitoring equipment for our Emergency Response Teams.
  • We enjoy a very rich history in Helena. I worked with town historian Kenneth Penhale to transform the historic Masonic lodge into a Helena History Museum.
Plans from the NEXT four Years
     
  • After securing land and bringing a new intermediate and a new middle school to Helena, my dream has always been for Helena to have its own high school. As you know, it is now under construction and will become a reality when it opens its doors to Helena students in the Fall of 2014.
  • With the bond issue I recently signed, we will build athletic facilities including a stadium, track, baseball, softball and soccer fields, and a field house to be shared by athletes at both our new high school and Helena Middle School.
  • I have worked for the past 10 years to secure funding for the Buck Creek Trails project. Exhaustive soil testing and a required bridge study has just been completed by the Alabama Department of Transportation, and the project will now move forward. A grant for $2,414,075 was approved by the State Department of Transportation in April 2012 for this project.
  • I am working on a project now to build community storm shelters in Helena with a grant from FEMA. The initial phase will hold 500 occupants and provide a safe place for residents who have no other shelter to get out of harm’s way.
  • As the economy picks up steam, I will continue to work diligently to improve our fire and police departments, taking advantage of as many state and federal grants as I can.
  • I will continue working to improve our parks, taking advantage of existing personnel and instituting a volunteer park board to help with routine park issues.

 

 

     
     

Contact

Sonny Penhale
Campaign Headquarters

Hwy 261 Helena, AL  35080

Mayor: Charles W. "Sonny" Penhale
Email:   sonny@sonny-penhale.com


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