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City of Smiths Station Receives Grant from Alabama Power Foundation

By Morgan Bryce/Assistant Communications Director

The City of Smiths Station has been selected to receive a 2020 Alabama Power Foundation Gateway grant. This grant funding will help cover the cost of a 60-by-40-foot mural that will be installed by John Christian of Go Georgia Arts on the side of Rainbow Foods on Lee Road 298 in downtown Smiths Station.

The mural will be listed on the Alabama Mural Trail Series and contain several interactive features, including a QR code that can be scanned for more information and a metal platform that will be attached in front of a painted caboose to make it a more interactive experience for visitors.

“This mural is going to be such a big cultural boost for our City and serve as a celebration of the industries and people that helped make Smiths Station the City that it is today. We are appreciative of the Alabama Power Foundation’s selection of this project, one that will preserve our history for generations to come,” said Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland.

Christian will begin work on the mural in early November and have it completed later in the fall.

September 2020 City of Smiths Station Business of the Month – Panther Mini Storage

By Morgan Bryce/Assistant Communications Director

Panther Mini Storage, owned and operated by David and Elaine Head, is the City of Smiths Station’s September 2020 Business of the Month.

Originally from Phenix City, the Heads were high school sweethearts while attending Central-Phenix City. After graduating, they married, and David entered the Air Force.

After his Air Force career, David relocated Elaine and his family to Smiths Station in 1971. He would go on to operate his own heating and air business along with part-time home remodeling work. Elaine worked as a stay-at-home mom for their two children, Chris and Teri.

In July 2001, Dr. Ashcraft sold the nearly 7-year-old business he had started to the Heads, and Elaine soon assumed responsibility of the day-to-day operations.

“We decided to buy this because we knew Smiths Station was growing and that this would be a great business to run once I retired,” David said.

The business has grown since the Heads acquired ownership nearly two decades ago. In addition to their main facility at 2223 Lee Road 430 which contains 207 units, they operate a satellite facility with 211 units further down Lee Road 430.

“We have lived and worked in the City (of Smiths Station) for many years. Our kids grew up in the school system here, and overall, we are well established here,” Elaine said. “People know that we’ll be here tomorrow, and I think that they like knowing that and being able to trust us.”

For more information, call 334-298-5993. Their hours of operation are noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Historic Jones Store Receives Statewide Historic Designation

The Alabama Historic Commission voted today to add the City of Smiths Station’s Historic Jones Store to the Alabama Register of Historic Places, making it the second historic structure in the Smiths Station community to receive this distinction. With this distinction, the City will soon receive, install, and later dedicate a historic marker in front of the museum.

“The importance of preservation is something that our City’s administration and Historical Commission take very seriously, and we are excited that we reached another milestone in preserving in our City’s history,” said Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland.

The Historic Jones Store was built and operated for several decades by Smiths Station residents George and Maggie Jones. In 2017, the structure was gifted to the City of Smiths Station and relocated to the Smiths Station Government Center campus.

Following a nearly two-year restoration process and conversion to a museum, the City held a public ribbon-cutting ceremony for the structure in July 2019. Currently, the store houses a number of artifacts pertinent to Smiths Station’s heritage, and includes exhibits commemorating individuals who have contributed to the City both past and present.

To schedule a tour, call 334-297-8771.

Historic Jones Store Receives Statewide Historic Designation

By Morgan Bryce/Assistant Communications Director

The Alabama Historic Commission voted today to add the City of Smiths Station’s Historic Jones Store to the Alabama Register of Historic Places, making it the second historic structure in the Smiths Station community to receive this distinction. With this distinction, the City will soon receive, install, and later dedicate a historic marker in front of the museum.

“The importance of preservation is something that our City’s administration and Historical Commission take very seriously, and we are excited that we reached another milestone in preserving in our City’s history,” said Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland.

The Historic Jones Store was built and operated for several decades by Smiths Station residents George and Maggie Jones. In 2017, the structure was gifted to the City of Smiths Station and relocated to the Smiths Station Government Center campus.

Following a nearly two-year restoration process and conversion to a museum, the City held a public ribbon-cutting ceremony for the structure in July 2019. Currently, the store houses a number of artifacts pertinent to Smiths Station’s heritage, and includes exhibits commemorating individuals who have contributed to the City both past and present.

To schedule a tour, call 334-297-8771.

Place 3 Councilman James Moody issues statement on retirement from City Council

“After four terms and 16 years on the Smiths Station City Council, I have made the decision to retire at the end of this term. It has been an honor and privilege to serve the people of our small town and the great city of Smiths Station. During my years of service, I have been blessed to see so many positive changes take place and although my time as a representative is over, I will continue to support our mayor and new council members in encouraging growth and positive development. You have given me the honor of serving you these past sixteen years as your City Council member. This privilege has allowed me to work with so many of you to create the special quality of life we enjoy here in Smiths Station. Over the last several years, numerous achievements have been accomplished in this city because the community was and still is the focus of the City Council. This city has been run and supported by its active residents who have spent a tremendous amount of their time to build up and then make it a better community. We have not only shown growth but done so while preserving the history and close knit environment that has always made us a place people want to call home. Smiths Station is and has always been about the people. I’ve called this great city home for over 50 years and I couldn’t be prouder of where it stands today and what it represents. Thank you again for all the support and encouragement over the years and may we all continue to stand behind our mayor and council members as they move us into the future. Being a part of Smiths Station is truly a blessing and honor.” -James Moody

August 2020 Business of the Month – The Heritage Agency Inc.

The Heritage Agency Inc.’s Smiths Station office, located at 110 Lee Road 562 Suite D, is the City of Smiths Station’s August Business of the Month.

The Smiths Station office is managed by Heritage’s President of Operations Pat Waldrop, who first took over the long-established insurance agency in 1988. Based in Phenix City, the company saw its clientele expand throughout the Chattahoochee Valley by word-of-mouth advertising, and now serves customers in Alabama and Georgia.

Waldrop was the business’s sole proprietor when she first took over the company, but now employees five individuals, four of whom are licensed insurance producers. She explained that the Heritage Agency is independent in nature and can shop for affordable insurance options for commercial or personal customers with well-known companies like The Hartford, Progressive and Travelers.

Following three to four years of searching for the perfect office space, Waldrop opened her Smiths Station office last September and is striving to become more connected and involved in the City.

“We want to be a part of the City and grow along with it. We are blessed to be here and I’m excited to see what the future holds for us here,” Waldrop said.

The agency’s hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday, with a lunch break from noon to 1 p.m.

For more information, call 334-298-5500, follow their Facebook page or visit heritageagencyinc.net.

Nine candidates qualify for August municipal election

By Morgan Bryce/Assistant Communications Director

Following a two-week qualifying period, nine individuals have qualified to run and will appear on the ballot in the City of Smiths Station’s August 25th municipal election.

Below is a list of the candidates, position they are running for, short biography and contact information.

Mayor – F.L. “Bubba” Copeland (unopposed)

Bio – Copeland has called the Smiths Station area his home for most of his life. He attended Smiths Station High School and holds a degree in hotel and restaurant management from Auburn University. He served on the Lee County Board of Education for 11 years before becoming Mayor in 2016. In addition to serving as Mayor, Copeland owns and operates The Country Market in Salem and pastors at First Baptist Church of Phenix City.

 “The qualifying period for Smiths Station’s municipal election on August 25th just ended, and I will have no opposition in my bid for a second term as Mayor. I cannot tell you how humbled and grateful I am for this opportunity. I am making a promise to our Citizens to work even harder the next four years than I did during my first four in office to make our City the best little city to work, live and play in Alabama.”

Contact informationhttps://www.facebook.com/bubbacopelandmayor/

Place 1 – George Stringer

Bio – Stringer was born and raised in Smiths Station and is a graduate of Wacoochee High School. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in education from Alabama State University, Stringer taught in Russell County then returned to Smiths Station, becoming the high school’s first African American educator, spending 27 years at the school before his retirement in 1996. He is one of the original Smiths Station City Council members.

“Knowledge is the key, and I am committed to education and helping promote the best quality of life for every resident in the community. I want to continue helping the growth that we’ve started.”

Contact information – 706-573-3664

Place 2 – Morris Jackson (Unopposed)

Bio – Jackson has called Smiths Station home for most of his life. A graduate of Wacoochee High School, he went on to serve for four years in the U.S. Army, including a one-year deployment to Vietnam. He went on to work for 42 years with Georgia Power and retired from the company in 2008. Jackson was heavily involved in Smiths Station’s incorporation efforts and is one of the original Smiths Station City Council members.

“Recent accomplishments as a council member that I’m proud of include pushing for the addition of nighttime lighting around the City, Love’s coming and opening here, serving as the Vice Chair of our Road Name Change Committee and helping with developments on the Smiths Station Government Center Campus, including the storm shelter that will be constructed here later this year. I enjoy working with the Mayor and the City Council that we have and am proud of all the accomplishments we have made during the last four years.”

Contact information – 706-905-1247

Place 3 – Kamarcus Adkins, Steve Lansdon and William Spear

Adkins – Born in Opelika, Adkins graduated from Russell County High School and attended Southern Union State Community College. He has more than two decades of experience in food services at the managerial level and mentoring children and young adults, and has previously volunteered with several local, state, and national political campaigns.

“I want to join a continuously growing city and be able to help mold young people outside of sports. I want to give them ‘opportunities’ and hope to help bring in programs that will allow our city to continue to grow.”

Contact information: 334-740-1977, kamarcusadkins@gmail.com

Lansdon – A lifelong Smiths Station resident, Lansdon is a Troy University graduate. He worked for 37 years with Southeast Freight Lines Trucking Company, retiring from there as the Regional Fleet Service Manager. Lansdon now works on a part-time basis for Penske Truck Rental and enjoys spending time with his wife Susan of 47 years and family.

“My goals if elected are to bring additional businesses to the area and work with the citizens, Mayor and City Council to keep Smiths Station among the forefront of small cities in Alabama.”

Contact informationsglsr54@gmail.com

SpearA lifelong Smiths Station resident, Spear worked as a forester for the Georgia Pacific Corporation for 41 years. He now works as a school bus driver for the Lee County Board of Education and as a substitute teacher. Spear has previously served on the Lee County Juvenile Conference Committee, Smiths Station Zoning Board of Adjustment and is currently a member of the Smiths Station Planning Commission.

“I am running for office in the Smiths Station city government to help continue the progressive growth of our city.”

Contact informationwinston88cup@aol.com

Place 4 – Richard Cooley (Unopposed)

Bio – Cooley has called Smiths Station home for more than 60 years and is a 1965 graduate of Smiths Station High School. He later joined the U.S. Air Force and served a tour in Vietnam. With degrees from Auburn and Troy universities, Cooley spent 27 years in education, working as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal. He was one of the leaders of Smiths Station’s incorporation efforts and has served on the Smiths Station City Council since 2004.

“Over the past four years, we have made tremendous strides in moving our City forward, including but not limited to the location of a Love’s Travel Stop within our City limits.  We are also in the early stages of establishing a Public Works Department to provide better maintenance for our roads and highways. Additionally, we are in the process of renaming our streets to names and moving away from the Lee Road designations for general population use and clarity.”

Contact information – 706-575-0642

Place 5 – Victoria Green and Diane Holman-Stein

GreenBorn and raised in Phenix City, Green graduated from Central High School and hold business-oriented degrees from the University of Louisiana at Monroe and Troy University-Phenix City. She has worked at TSYS for the last 25 years. Green and her family are members of Smiths Station Baptist Church and are active volunteers in the church’s Upward Basketball ministry.

“I would like to use my years of leadership experience and working in corporate America to make decisions for our city that both support growth and the best interests of our community. A few areas of specific interest to me are the continued economic growth of our city, the development of an area dedicated for walking our pets and for several community tennis courts. 

I love my community and when elected I look forward to serving each citizen with honesty, openness, and integrity.”

Contact information – 706-593-3547

Holman-Stein – “I, Diane Holman-Stein, am blessed to have called Smiths Station my home since 1991 and Mount Zion UMC my family’s Church home for the past 23 years where I also serve on the Church Council. After graduating from Wetumpka High School, I went on to earn my ‘Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts’ from the University of Montevallo and in 2015, completed courses from the University of North Alabama to become a ‘Certified Alabama Planning & Zoning Official.'”

Employed with the City of Smiths Station:

2006-Present: Administrative Clerk to the Planning & Zoning Department (currently on leave as required by AL State Election  Laws)

2007-Present: Appointed to serve as the City’s first Archivist by then Mayor LaFaye Dellinger

2017-Present: Appointed to serve as Administrative Secretary to the Zoning Board of Adjustment

“I am running for City Council Place 5 because of my combined early personal involvement with the City’s startup by supporting the Incorporation effort and working the Census, 14 years of experience as a staff member in the day-to-day operations of the City and interactions with its citizens which has given me an insight and understanding that needs to be present on our City Council. We have seen wonderful growth in the past four years and my hope is that this will continue with wise choices as well as a respectful balance between residential and commercial development.”

Contact information – 706-332-6485

* Places are at-large positions unlike districts and wards, and do not indicate a specific area or portion of the City being represented. *

Smiths Station Disc Golf Course now open at the Smiths Station Sports Complex

By Morgan Bryce

Assistant Communications Director

  Smiths Station Parks and Recreation Director Jason Stewart and Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland are pleased to announce that the “Smiths Station Disc Golf Course” is now open at the City’s Sports Complex on Lee Road 242.

  The 18-hole, par-54 course encompasses the entire park, with the 1st hole located near the basketball courts and the 18th hole next to the Lee County Senior Center. Rated as an intermediate-level course, it will serve as a great introduction to the sport for beginners and a challenging practice location for experts, according to Stewart.

  “We wanted to give people something to enjoy and do free of charge,” Stewart said. “It’s a great source of exercise and it’s something that kids of any age can also take on.”

“We’ve been planning this for over a year now, and I’m glad to see it finished and opened to the public. This is a great addition to our Sports Complex,” Copeland added.

The course has been added to the course directory on the UDisc app, which lists more than 10,000 other disc golf courses found around the United States.

Stewart said plans are to create leagues for adults and youth based on age, class and skill level that will participate in monthly tournaments. For those who do not own a disc and want to give the sport a try, Stewart said there will be a small station built where individuals can borrow and return them while at the course.

 The course, along with the park, is open from dawn to dusk daily. Guests are encouraged to bring their own discs and source of hydration. A grand-opening event for the course is being planned for a later date.

Smiths Station City Council approves resolution authorizing formation of Road Name Change Committee

By Morgan Bryce

Assistant Communications Director

The Smiths Station City Council approved a resolution authorizing the formation of a Road Name Change Committee during Tuesday’s meeting.

Committee members include Chairman Richard Cooley, Vice Chairman Morris Jackson, Planning & Zoning Administrator Lisa Deason, Executive Assistant Brenda Dockery, Assistant Communications Director Morgan Bryce, and Citizen Volunteer Steve Henley.

The committee’s primary goal is to rename roads located within the city limits to their historical designations or names significant to Smiths Station. They will hold weekly meetings and work in tandem with local first responder agencies and the Post Office as the City moves forward with this initiative.

“This is an issue that our citizens and leadership have been interested in pursuing since incorporation, and we now have the resources in place to make this longtime dream a reality,” said Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland. “I believe it will help promote a stronger community spirit among our residents and give us an even greater sense of identity as a City.”

In coming weeks, a public forum will be scheduled for committee members and City officials to inform citizens on the status of this initiative and receive their input.   

For more information, contact Mr. Cooley at 706-575-0642 or Mr. Jackson at 706-905-1247.

July 2020 Business of the Month – JT Screen Printing & More

By Morgan Bryce/Assistant Communications Director

JT Screen Printing & More, located at 16541 U.S. Highway 280 Suite D in the Buckeye Acres Shopping Center, is the City of Smiths Station’s July 2020 Business of the Month.

The family-owned business was opened last April, but the father-son operators Tommy Rumph and Justin Riley have a combined 50-plus years of experience in the screen-printing industry based in the Auburn-Opelika area.

“When deciding to open, the thought was of bringing something that Smiths Station and surrounding area didn’t have,” Riley said.

Riley’s younger brother Scott works part-time at JT’s while his fiancé Sydney handles bookkeeping duties for the business.

Despite the relative newness of his family’s business, Riley said they have developed a consistent wholesale income and have cultivated meaningful relationships with area companies and organizations to handle their screen-printing needs. They are also capable of printing for smaller clients or for special events or functions.

Riley said JT’s competitive pricing and quality product helps separate the business from their competition.

“Instead of using an automatic method like heat transfer, we use a hand-stenciling technique. After that has been applied, they are run through a machine that dries that oil-based ink at 307 degrees (Fahrenheit),” Riley said. “It’s a better quality and the print or design lasts longer.”

In front of JT’s is a small retail section showcasing samples of their work.

Hours of operation for the business are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time. For more information, call 334-214-4577, follow their Facebook page “JT Screenprinting & More,” send email to jtprinting19@gmail.com or visit jtscreenprintingandmore.com.