Parrish minister asks for help on vandalism

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PARRISH - A minister whose church now owns the old Parrish High School told the Parrish Town Council Tuesday it is discouraging to see vandalism at the facility and is asking for help from the city.

"This needs to be stopped. It is a little discouraging to me," said William Sherer, minister of Friendship Missionary Church. "I've been here all my life. I just want to see the town do a little bit better.

Sherer, a life-long resident of Parrish, told the council vandalism at that facility started about three years ago. 

"It has escalated until the building is just about destroyed in the inside," he said. "Everything that you could break there" was broken or busted, including some of the walls in one of the bathrooms recently. 

While some say the vandals are probably children, church members feel they might be teenagers or a little older, frustrated about something. "They are taking it out down there," he said. 

"We have to do something. If we don't, whoever is doing it is going to finish it up. It has gotten to the point the only thing left to do is to burn it down," he said. 

He said problems started with an entrance door, which was busted.

"We got inside and put everything we could put on the door. I put plywood across the door, and they tore it off, simple as that. And they do doughnuts in the field," he said, noting it was aggravating to mow it when one finds the ground is rutted up. 

While the church has its its responsibility in securing the facility, the church is hoping for some help. He said it is hard enough to maintain a small church. 

Mayor La'Tisha Oliver said she had already asked Police Chief Julius Gamblin to meet with Sherer after the meeting to get more information. 

In other action Tuesday, the council:

• Briefly heard from Oliver at the start of the work session that she met with grant writer Terry Acuff and Nelson Engineering for pre-construction information. An $11,680 payment was made on Nov. 21 by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to the town, which then deposited the funds in a road grant account at the First National Bank of Hamilton's Parrish branch, she said.

The $350,000 road project is projected to start Jan. 20, depending on weather, with the ending date roughly looked at being May 5. "They are expecting it to be completed prior to that," she said. 

A 48-hour notice for residents will be given for weekend and holiday work. 

"They said they would work with them to make sure they have ways in and out of their driveways," she said. Crews would also be responsible for keeping equipment off of residential property. 

• Held an executive session during most of the work session hour concerning good name and character of employees. Councilwoman Roslyn Bankhead did not attend the work session, but arrived shortly after the formal meeting started. 

• Heard during the formal meeting that Oliver is working with the street department to find asphalt to fill holes in the road. "It looks good. Don't know how long it will last. We know it probably won't last real long," Oliver said. However, she said as the need comes to refill them, they will do that until they can do more substantial paving can be done with the streets. "I know patching doesn't last, but it is better than nothing right now," she said.