BY HANNAH GOLDFINGER
The Smiths Station City Council heard from numerous residents last week during the regular Tuesday council meeting with complaints about the girls’ softball field.
“I’m here to ask for equal treatment, funds and management for Drury Fields in Girl’s Softball,” said Lauren Davis, one resident of Smiths Station.
The fields, which residents and parents said has not received any upkeep from the city, are in need of repairs, maintenance and help.
Many of these parents have stepped up in the interim to take on the needed maintenance themselves, however.
“It is beloved because of the hard work and effort poured into it by countless parents and volunteers,” Davis said. “We are determined and dedicated to provide our girls with the same opportunities and resources that other sports receive. Something we shouldn’t have to do alone if our city and county were showing up for our girls like they show up for other sports and the other complex.”
The parents have taken it upon themselves to restripe the parking lot, clean the bathrooms, repair the fence in front of the dugout and more.
“Why do we pay $15 a season with nothing to show for it,” asked another parent and member of the board, D.J. Simms.
Smiths Station Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland addressed this concern and said that the maintenance that is completed on the field, such as cutting the grass, is what the $15 fee covers.
Simms said that the city has failed and did nothing to help until issues were made public on Facebook.
Copeland waited until everyone was done speaking to address the problems.
Copeland said there was no intention of mistreating the female players.
He also suggested that there be a board meeting to discuss the problems and work toward a solution.
One of the problems, he said, is that the field is owned by the Lee County School Board, not the city of Smiths Station. So that does limit certain things.
“Let’s see what we can do to help,” Copeland said.
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE:
The council also approved a contractual agreement with the East Alabama Chamber of Commerce.
“So, you guys kind of know the back history of how the East Alabama Chamber became the East Alabama Chamber,” said Melissa Gaunt, CEO and president of the chamber. “It was to be inclusive to include the city of Smiths Station. Prior to that, it was Phenix City/Russell County Chamber of Commerce. And we knew that you would never be apart of that as long as the name was Phenix City/Russell County because that absolutely excludes Smiths Station.
Gauntt asked the council to consider that this agreement is more than just a contractual obligation or inclusion, but participation.
“It’s about a collaboration and a partnership and us to be your eyes and ears in the community and so that you’re aware,” she said.
Gauntt described the agreement as a bargain.
“You all know that Smiths Station is my home so I have a special place in my heart for it, so it’s to be a part and be your partner instead of just being a membership club,” she said.
Smiths Station Council Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland thanked Gauntt for coming.
- The council approved a resolution for cell phone reimbursement for Interim City Clerk Cyndi Farmer.
- The council approved a funding request for National Night Out on Oct. 3, 2023.
- The council approved an event request for the pavilion for a baby shower.