Benson Council agrees to fund School of Rock Centennial Celebration

by Crystal McGough

PINSON – The Pinson City Council approved a proposal Thursday, June 2, to budget $15,000 for the upcoming Centennial Celebration of Historic Rock Pinson School in August.

Alison Scanlan, director of the Benson Public Library, discusses the centennial celebration of the school of rock with Benson City Council

The celebration will take place on August 13, 2022, beginning at 10 a.m., at the School of Rock complex, and will coincide with the School of Rock’s regular annual reunion of past alumni of the school. However, the centenary celebration will be open to the public.

“We’ve already had two planning meetings with the library, the historic community and town hall,” Mayor Joe Cochran said. “We want two things for the kids, because it’s going to be more than just a school of rock reunion that day; we want the whole community to come out and celebrate this 100-year-old building. It’s a wonderful gem in the middle of our community.”

“We will have activities (and) there will be different speakers who will be speaking throughout the day. We will invite the Governor to come. It will just be a wonderful celebration of a wonderful historic building in our community that is now our library and events area.”

Alison Scanlan, director of the Benson Public Library, took to the stage to say a few words about the upcoming event.

“We’ll have something for everyone,” she said. “So the people who graduated from there, guys reuniting, are going to have a lot to enjoy and get to know each other. … The new people (and) young families in Benson can come and have all kinds of fun for the kids and everyone else to learn a little about Benson’s history.”

Scanlan also said she has confirmation that Tom Bailey’s bicentennial book about Benson will be printed again and there will be copies available at the School of Rock celebration.

“I think Tom will be able to be there to sign as well,” she said. “I know these are in great demand. We should keep our copy in the library under lock and key, so you don’t go too far. It would just be a fun time for everyone to really celebrate, because this building is the heart of the community.”

During a pre-board workshop, the board discussed the costs of the event, including catering, signage, and making about 350 T-shirts, and concluded that $15,000 should be an adequate budget.

“I figured I’d do a lot of things, do them well and give them what they deserve for 100 years,” Cochran said. “We’ll never see that again, so let’s do it right.”

The council also approved a proposal to spend up to $26,000 on new Christmas decor in Bicentennial Park and Triangle Park. Decorations include a 9-foot flower arch and a 22-foot tall new Christmas tree with Gift Box ornaments for Bicentennial Park, allowing the Bicentennial’s current tree to be moved to Triangle Park.

“It would allow us, once again, to have Christmas – which is much needed – in Triangle Park, and have a tree there,” Cochran said. “People really asked for it.”

The Board introduced a resolution to create a new functional position, Director of Entertainment, and scheduled a special meeting and working session on Wednesday, June 8, at 6 p.m., to further discuss the position.

Two candidates for the Jefferson County Council for the third school district seat addressed the board Thursday night. Stephanie Floyd and Rochelle Gaston Malone spoke to the council and attendees about why they felt they were the best choice to represent District 3, which consists of Centre Point, Benson, Irondale, Fultondale and parts of Birmingham. The run-off elections will be held on June 21, 2022.

Other business and upcoming events:

  • Trade days will be on June 4, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Benson Main Street
  • The Pinson Library’s Summer Reading will begin June 4, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., at the Rock School Complex
  • Movies in the Park: Encanto will be Friday, June 10 in Bicentennial Park at sunset
  • The council approved Order 2022-11, which changes zoning classifications for 6639 Country View Drive, 6835 Bradshaw Lane, and 7120 Arnold Lane.

Benson City Council will have its own meeting on Wednesday, June 8 at 6 p.m., and the next regular meeting of the council will be on Thursday, June 16, at 7 p.m., following a 6:15 p.m. business session.

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