Alabaster Connection: What items/projects included in the budget this year will directly affect Ward 4 residents? What are the most pressing issues facing your constituents?
Greg Farrell: “After pausing the City’s annual paving projects last year, we allotted additional funding in order to be more aggressive with our paving projects—and that included Ward 4. Also the addition of Patriot Park and upgrades to our current parks are for citizens to enjoy. The ongoing expansion to Highway 119 will aid in traffic flow. My commitment is to ensure City services are adequately provided and how we can enhance those services.”
AC: What other projects happening in 2023 are you excited about and what issues in Alabaster are you paying particular attention to right now?
GF: “The Highway 31 project is a big one—we’re adding turn lanes, extending existing turn lanes, and redesigning medians to help with traffic flow. Another is the ongoing Highway 119 widening project, with partial opening of one side. I’m excited about the completion of Patriots Park. There are also numerous planned infrastructure upgrades throughout the City, including the completion of the new Police Headquarters and the streetscape redesign leading to the City Hall complex area. The Council is also working on the Redistricting of the Wards for the next election cycle. This is required every 10 years using census records. The goal is to have it completed this year.”
AC: What was the best thing about 2022?
GF: ” There were some exciting items looking back on 2022. We added a ladder truck for our Fire Department, we funded construction of clean rooms at one of the fire stations, the construction of the new Police Department Headquarters, and the ground breaking and construction of Patriots Park.”
AC: The Council passed a one-cent sales tax increase. What projects funded by that increase are most important to you and your constituents and the city at large?
GF: “The formation of our own ambulance service that will be provided by the Fire Department. Our current provider is unable to meet the needs within our City—this has been an ongoing issue for years. I saw this during my career with the Fire Department. Proposals for providing our own ambulance service have been discussed multiple times through the years, but the funding was never there. With this additional funding, we can now provide this needed service that our citizens deserve. Having our own service will reduce on-scene time, allowing engine companies to go in service quicker and answer other calls when needed. The additional funding will also give the City the opportunity to look at how we can retain employees and maintain competitive workforce recruitment for the City and upgrade the City’s infrastructure to ensure we continue to provide adequate services to our residents. We’ll be able to enhance the experience of living in Alabaster for our young people to our seniors.”
AC: In your opinion, what is the going to be the biggest impact of the tax increase?
GF: “The additional funding will allow the City to expand services to meet the growth of our City and provide adequate services for our residents. I look at it as an investment for our City’s future.”
AC: Any exciting plans for 2023 or things you’re looking forward to personally?
GF: “I’m looking forward to implementing the Mayor’s Fast Forward plan for our City and working with the other Council members to bring this vision to reality. I hope to do some traveling and continue to enjoy our semi-retirement.”
Stacy Rakestraw, Ward 3: “The City had great participation in the volunteer litter pick-up day with 40 volunteers giving 80 hours of service, cleaning up six miles of roadway, and collecting 52 bags of litter, plus debris.”
Members of the Alabaster Church of Christ picked up 27 bags of litter and a large amount of junk debris in the area around the church. And Alabaster Girl Scout Troops 28212 and 28215 picked up trash along CR 66 and CR 95, collecting 25 bags of litter. After 10 years, our first Clean Sweep volunteer, Amanda Pearce, now a member of the Beautification Board, has continued to help each year and leads by example bringing her children to help as well.
We are so thankful to all of these individuals for spending their valuable time helping our community. All of them have such servants’ hearts, and it is a joy to serve with them. Also, this could not be done without the help and protection of the Alabaster Police Department providing officers to follow along behind the groups and help them safely cross the roads.