Bessemer boards discuss plans, successes
December 4, 2019
By RICHARD JENKINS
“I think it went well,” Mayor Adam Zak told the Daily Globe after the meeting. “A lot of the ideas expressed here will be great for Bessemer, and it seems like everybody, in some facet … talked about the same things amongst themselves. Now it’s a matter of trying to get together and make it happen.”
Representatives of the city council, planning commission, downtown development authority, parks and recreation commission and the Be Bessemer subcommittee discussed what projects their respective bodies have been working on and what they hoped to accomplish in the new year.
“Tonight was a way of getting everyone together to discuss what we have been up to in 2019 and our goals for 2020, just so we can see how the various committees and council can work together,” said City Manager Charly Loper.
Among the efforts over the past year were the DDA’s marketing efforts and facade work; the planning commission’s work on tiny houses, storage containers and accessory structures in different districts; and the parks and recreation committee’s focus on little libraries, beautifying downtown, and adding attractions to the city’s parks.
Much of the talk of the future focused on continuing or expanding the various projects the groups have been developing over the years. These included the DDA updating the city banners along U.S. 2 as some have become worn or damaged, the planning commission continued to update ordinances and Bessemer’s master plan and various groups working on a trailhead behind city hall for the non-motorized Iron Belle Trail.
Other ideas included getting additional holiday lights around the the downtown and the city’s Ethnic Commons as part of the effort to draw visitors traveling along U.S. 2 into the downtown.
Along with providing the various updates and goals, the groups discussed ways they could join forces and help each other.
Possible partnerships included marketing efforts highlighting various planning commission initiatives and using the little free libraries — small structures throughout the community filled with books that are free to take — to also house information about where attractions are in Bessemer and other information about the city.
Zak also brought up the possibility of having the groups periodically appear at council meetings to keep the council informed of the projects so the council can assist if possible.
Loper was optimistic about the progress made at the meeting, saying she thought it featured some great discussions and showed the importance of continued cooperation.
This is the second year the city has held this meeting, according to Loper, and she hopes it continues as an annual event.