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Priceville News

Priceville library moving

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

From The Decatur Daily
by Cody Muzio

PRICEVILLE — A new home for the Priceville Public Library will pave the way for “all kinds” of new programs and services for residents, librarian Paula Hensley said.

Priceville Mayor Melvin Duran said the Town Council approved a $925,000 purchase of the Western Express trucking company building and surrounding land on South Bethel Road in November and “didn’t have a clue what to use it for.”

Then it hit him.

“We looked at it and realized it would be perfect for the library,” he said. “The library has really outgrown where it is.”

Duran said the new building is 7,500 square feet, more than triple the size of the current 2,000-square-foot library. Hensley said every inch will be utilized.

“We need more space,” she said. “Last year, in our summer reading program, we had to turn kids away because we just didn’t have room. I don’t want to do that.”

She estimated the library has 1,500 to 2,000 “active” cardholders who check out a book “at least every two weeks.”

Duran said the new building has a large open room in the center with smaller ones along the outside that can be used for kids’ rooms, offices or computer rooms.

He said state library system officials will tour the building Wednesday and make recommendations on remodeling, but he expects little will need to be done.

“I’d think we can do all the remodeling for around $20,000,” he said. He said the council plans to have the library completed and open by April.

Hensley said she’s already thinking of new community programs for the more spacious building.

“We will be able to expand our technology and have more computers or have classes there,” she said. “We could use some of those rooms for private tutoring sessions. And we’ve had several people call asking if we could do a job fair. I don’t have room for that, but I will in the new building.”
Duran said the town is serious about maintaining its library, even in a time when others are falling by the wayside, because it is a service of the town to its residents.

“The library is really an extension of education, which is always a priority.”

Gun safety class set in Priceville for Dec. 19

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

From The Decatur Daily
by Seth Burkett

PRICEVILLE — The Priceville Town Council Public Safety Program will hold a free course on home gun safety Dec. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall.

Speakers will discuss the responsibility of gun ownership and use of weapons inside the home, said Town Councilman and firearms instructor Jerry Welch.

Priceville police officer Herman Davis will speak about 911 response, Sheriff Ana Franklin will address legal questions and Welch will talk about weapon use, ammunition and securing guns.

Reservations are not necessary. Do not bring weapons to the class. The class is for Morgan County residents only.

For more information, call Welch at 355-7604.

Priceville: New school will draw families to city

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

From The Decatur Daily
by Deangelo McDaniel

PRICEVILLE — Fields that once grew row crops along Upper River and Bethel roads are now sprouting single-family homes, businesses and churches in Priceville.

According to city officials, this is just the beginning.

The growth that started in this hamlet in 2004 when Priceville High School reopened is expected to go on the “fast track” as school leaders move closer to construction of a new high school, Councilman Tommy Perry said.

“We already have great schools and a growing community,” Perry said at Tuesday’s high school groundbreaking ceremony. “But we expect this to draw more people to the community.”

The $24.7 million school, 119,000 square feet in size, is expected to open in August 2015, Superintendent Bill Hopkins Jr. said.

“It’s going to be a game changer for this area and the entire county,” he said.

Priceville Mayor Melvin Duran was not at the groundbreaking, but he said last week the city has issued about 100 building permits in the past year.

“Some of them are because of the new school,” he said.

When board members voted in July 2012 to construct the school, they cited overcrowding as the leading reason. Priceville’s population grew 76 percent from 2000-10 and now is 2,885, according to 2010 census figures.

Priceville Elementary, a K-5 school on Cave Spring Road, added 100 students during the growth period and is above capacity with about 700 enrolled. The school opened in 2000 and was expanded in 2007.

The junior high and high school share a campus on Alabama 67, but have been near or at capacity since 2004.

Hopkins said the plan is to make the Alabama 67 campus a middle school for grades 5-8, which would give the elementary school more room.

The new high school is designed to house 600 students, but infrastructure will be in place to expand it for 900.

In addition to 25 to 30 classrooms, the school will have laboratories, a 1,500-seat gymnasium and athletic field house estimated to cost about $2 million.

Parents Kelly Dean and Kim Law expect the school, which is the talk of the community, to change Priceville for the better.

“I think this is a statement about what education means in this community,” Law said.

Her son, Hugh Law, 11, participated in Tuesday’s ceremony.

“I’ve been asking my mom where the school was going to be” the fifth-grader said. “I’m excited because this is where I will graduate.”

If construction goes as planned, Law said, her daughter will be part of the first graduating class.

Birmingham-based Volkert Construction is supervising the project.

Shane Bagwell, of Volkert, said the school is on schedule for bid in mid-December. He said the company held its pre-construction conference with the State Building Commission in August and submitted construction documents to the state in early October.

Hopkins said Priceville is perfect for residents who work in Huntsville because the school is about two miles from Interstate 65.

“We hope this becomes a neighborhood school so students can walk to class,” the superintendent said.

Valley honors sacrifice, duty

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

From The Decatur Daily
by Cody Muzio

PRICEVILLE — Somerville resident Wayne Stevens thinks of Veterans Day not only as a time to acknowledge those who have served in the military, but also the end of the wars they fought.

Armistice Day, as it was observed before being renamed Veterans Day in 1954, celebrated the cease-fire that led to the end of World War I. After American deployment in World War II surpassed that of the previous conflict, Congress opted for a broader day of remembrance.

Stephens, 89, is a WWII Navy veteran who grew up in Eva.

“It is a special day because it was supposed to be the war that ended wars,” Stephens said of WWI. “But it didn’t. I reckon people will be fighting until the end of time.”

Hundreds gathered Monday for the Morgan County Veterans Day parade and ceremony.

The parade, down North Bethel Road and Faye Drive, featured junior ROTC groups, martial arts students, firetrucks from departments across the county and floats from patriotic organizations.

Leading was grand marshal Bill Dukes, former state representative and Decatur mayor and a WWII Army veteran. Dukes spoke at a ceremony that followed the parade at Veterans Memorial Park in Priceville.

Before leaving the podium, Dukes thanked veterans for their selflessness.
“That’s what it’s all about: giving to help others,” he said.

As the Priceville High School band played each military branch’s song, audience members were asked to stand if they or a family member served in that branch.
Shiela Nelson stood for every song.

“My dad was in the Air Force, my husband was a Marine, my son is in the Army, my daughter is in the Coast Guard, and my uncle and nephew are Navy,” she said.
Nelson, 48, of Decatur, is president of Blue Star Mothers of Morgan County — mothers of military men and women supporting deployed troops with care packages and prayer, as well as offering encouragement to one another. She said Veterans Day is about honoring those who have served.

“I don’t think they get enough recognition,” she said. “I think it’s right to honor our veterans, and the way they were honored today was very appropriate.”
Carl Flemons, 58, of Somerville, served eight years in the Air Force as a radio and radar repairman. His father was deployed in World War II and his father-in-law in the Korean War.

The family connection and a “sense of duty” inspired him to join the service, he said, but also the practicality of the GI Bill and the promise of a college education. When he looks back, it’s a source of pride.

“It was an absolute privilege,” he said.

Stevens said he hopes people don’t forget the sacrifices of veterans or the importance of ending conflicts.

“You know, I didn’t go through the roughest part (of WWII),” he said, “but I wouldn’t want anybody to go through what I went through.”

He said he was touched by the ceremony and the support the community showed to veterans.

“It’s hard for me to explain the feeling I have when I get together with people with one thought in mind,” he said. “I really enjoyed it.”

Priceville school gets new turn lane

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

From The Decatur Daily
by Cody Muzio

PRICEVILLE — Morgan County District 1 Commissioner Jeff Clark said his crews were adding two new gravel turn lanes to Cave Spring Road in front of Priceville Elementary on Wednesday.

The turn lanes are needed to help prevent traffic congestion.

“The problem was traffic was backing up out of the parking lot and into the road,” he said. “Hopefully that will take care of it.”

He said the elementary school is growing and he thinks the problem would have been worse this school year if the lanes were not added.

Clark said the project will cost no more than $5,000.

He also said he plans to pave and stripe the lanes before school starts, if weather permits. If not, he said he’ll have it done over one weekend in the fall.

Priceville prepares for annual car show

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

From The Decatur Daily

PRICEVILLE — Jerry Berryman has been bringing his classic cars to Priceville’s annual car show since it began in 1997, and this year’s event Aug. 17 will be no different.

“I have some Corvettes, a ’55 Buick convertible, and this year I have a ’59 Studebaker I’m going to bring,” he said.

Berryman, of Priceville, said he has watched the event grow from a few dozen cars to the 482 on display last year. Fellow enthusiast Lonnie Williams, also of Priceville, said he expects this year to be even bigger.

“There will probably be 500 to 600 cars there and 2,000 to 3,000 people,” he said.
Kelly Dean, Priceville’s town clerk, said the show will have a lot more to offer than just cars. The event is open to new and antique cars, trucks, tractors, motorcycles and “pretty much anything you can drive,” she said.

The event also includes dozens of vendors. Dean said there will be a raffle specifically for car show participants with a chance to win a 350 Chevy engine or one of 10 $100 cash prizes.

“It’s just really neat, good family entertainment,” she said.

Williams said the show is a relaxed social event that brings the town together.

“It’s not just cars. With all the local churches and clubs that have booths set up, it kind of makes it like a bazaar,” he said.

The show is a “cruise-in,” which means car owners don’t have to preregister, but there is a $10 fee for participants.

The car show will be held from 6 to 10 p.m., but cars exhibitors are encouraged to arrive early. Admission is free.

Sheriff Franklin to discuss new gun laws

Monday, July 29th, 2013

August 27, 2013, at 7:00 P.M. Sheriff Anna Franklin will be holding a town hall-style meeting at Priceville Municipal Building to speak on the substantial changes to the laws affecting who own and carry weapons.

Priceville OKs 8% lodging tax

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

From The Decatur Daily
by Ben Montgomery

PRICEVILLE — A new 8 percent lodging tax in Priceville could take advantage of Decatur’s lack of hotel rooms and will provide funds for branding and promoting the city, officials said.

The Priceville Town Council voted Monday to approve the tax. It will go into effect Oct. 1.

Councilman Charles Black said the tax is intended to be “competitive” with Decatur’s 7 percent lodging tax.

“It’s a revenue stream we’re just not capturing,” Black said.

Mayor Melvin Duran said Priceville’s four hotels benefit from Decatur’s lack of hotel rooms. Out-of-town participants in large events at Decatur’s Point Mallard Park or the Jack Allen Soccer Complex often must find accommodations outside Decatur. Morgan County has 1,679 hotel rooms, 1,366 of which are in Decatur.

Celebration Arena Manager Craig Stiles pitched the idea of a lodging tax to the council in February. He asked the council to appropriate part of the revenue to the arena so it can afford expansions, justifying his request by saying tourism dollars the arena generates benefit Priceville more than any other Morgan County municipality.

Duran said the council wasn’t committing revenue to any one entity at this point. He said it will be spent on promoting the city, including paying for tourism brochures Duran wants to print.

“We’ll determine where the money goes,” Duran said. “In reality, the arena does get the money because we’ll use it to buy advertisements for their events.”

Town of Priceville Newsletter – July 2013

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Read about upcoming activities in Priceville in this month’s newsletter.

Priceville alcohol brings in $2,469

Monday, July 15th, 2013

From The Decatur Daily
by Cody Muzio

PRICEVILLE — Priceville collected $2,469.28 in alcohol tax revenue for May, its first full month of sales.

The ordinance allowing for alcohol sales in the town passed in February and the first sales took place in May. Since the town became wet, it has issued nine alcohol licenses. License holders sell only beer and wine. They include three wholesale licenses, one special event license, one restaurant license and one off-premise consumption license.

Priceville Mayor Melvin Duran said the money is going into the town’s capital outlay fund, which is used for special projects.

“It really hasn’t been very long,” Duran said. “I don’t think this is a true indicator of what revenues will be.”

Duran said council members couldn’t estimate what the impact of alcohol sales would be, so the increased revenue was not included in the 2012-13 fiscal year budget.

Priceville license holders said the ability to sell alcohol has improved business.
“We didn’t know how people would take it, but we’ve had no problems so far,” JW Steakhouse restaurant manager Abby Vest said. “It’s brought in a different crowd, and we have more people coming out to have beer or wine with dinner. And none of our regulars have had any complaints.”

The steakhouse installed a bar in one of its dining rooms after receiving its license. Vest said the bar and daily drink specials have also boosted sales, and she expects the upward trend to continue as more people learn what the restaurant offers.

Tucker’s Grocery owner Chris Tucker said his store’s location near the Priceville-Somerville line has contributed to an influx of new business.

“People from the surrounding areas in the county that would never stop here because they’re on their way to get beer in Decatur are stopping here now and often getting other things, too,” he said.

Tucker said he’s taken full advantage of his license and has about 50 varieties of beer and malt beverages in stock.

Foodland owner Josh Gray said he was a little surprised at how effective alcohol sales have been. He said alcohol sales made it the most successful Fourth of July in the store’s history.

“We were thinking it was just going to be a convenience thing and people would just pick up some beer or wine while they were here getting groceries,” he said. “But we do have a lot of people who come in just to buy beer.

“We even have a lot of customers drive in from Decatur and even Moulton and Somerville and buy beer from us because they say they like the store and our people.”

Gray said Priceville’s sales tax — 8 percent, as opposed to Decatur’s 9 — also contributes to outside traffic.

Just across the city border, Chevron manager Tara Farrer is less excited. Her store is in Decatur, but only feet from the Priceville line.

“I’ve been at this store for nine years, and I can tell a big difference in our sales,” she said. “We had a lot of people drive in from Priceville and Somerville who don’t come here to get beer anymore.”

Farrer said the convenience store lowered its prices on alcohol, but the difference is still noticeable.

“I hope it comes up for a vote again and they go back to being dry,” she said.
Decatur’s District 5 City Councilman Chuck Ard said cases like Farrer’s are inevitable, but he doesn’t think the city as a whole will feel an impact. Ard is the liaison to the Finance Department.

“I think that Priceville will do their thing, and I think we’ll do our thing,” he said. “But I don’t see it as a significant loss of revenue for the city.”

Decatur finance supervisor Linda McKinney said the city’s beer revenue for May of 2013 was $94,398, only $1,280 less than in 2012. McKinney said the difference could be attributed to many factors, not just Priceville sales.


  • Town Council:
  • 2nd & 4th Mondays
    6:00 P.M.
  • Town Council Work Sessions:
  • 2nd & 4th Mondays
    5:00 P.M.
  • Park & Recreation Board:
  • 4th Monday
    6:30 P.M.
  • Planning Commission:
  • 3rd Monday
    7:00 P.M.
  • Library Board:
  • quarterly
  • Zoning Board of Adjustments:
  • per application request