Decatur Development Blog

Expansion and Development in the Greater Decatur area

Posts Tagged ‘Alabama 20’

MorCo Industrial Park and dropping jobless rates?

Posted by alalto on July 21, 2009


The bonds for the $16 Million industrial park south of Hartselle, along Thompson Road and Interstate 65. This industrial park is expected to be similar, yet different, than the Mallard-Fox Industrial Park along the Tennessee River, west of Decatur on Alabama 20/ALT 72.

The parks are supposed to be similar in that the two will both have influence from the Decatur-Morgan County Port Authority, which allows for railroad access, and other intramodel utilities. Also, the new park is expected to look at more technical and hi-tech manufacturers/industries as tenants. First tenants will likely be located along the interstate, of course because of the exposure.

Now, I’ll start with the pros of this:

Location location location
Because this park is to be located along I-65, it is obvious that we’re going to get more visible industry/business from the interstate. Why is this good? Because it matters how people view the Decatur area. Is the area rural? or is it more metropolitan? We all know that the area is more metropolitan, but most people (whether they be simple tourists or developers/businessmen/potential investors) don’t have any clue what the area is like, mainly because there’s nothing to look at in Morgan County. Now, while I enjoy foliage, and the greenery along the highway, there isn’t much at this specific location. And it is important that the Decatur area is viewed as a developed/developing, economic, GROWING, and maintained area. Potential investors, though many will deny it, focus a lot on vanity, which is basically how the area looks to outsiders. In other words, it is important to be viewed as growing in order to continue growing.

The cons:

Meh…
As far as the financial impact on the county’s and the cities’ books goes, it’s not that risky. The money to make payments on the bonds comes from a steady income of “in lieu of tax” payments made to the area by TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority). If this industrial park is as successful as Mallard-Fox has been, we can expect a great return in the initial investment made by the county. And, ladies and gentlemen, Mallard-Fox has been outstandingly successful.

The only negative I really see with this park is the area that it will be improving. While we can expect a great deal of realistic influence on communities that are within about 5 to 10 miles (it all honestly depends on a complex “distance decay” formula which is in all honesty to complex for me to explain) it doesn’t seem that communities as far away as Somerville, Morgan City, and Lacey’s Spring will be realistically affected by this. Other than having some more money flowing into their municipal coffers, I don’t see any seriously noticeable growth in population or private sector economy occurring. However, I do see a possible positive affect on areas like Moulton, Lacon, Eva, Falkville, and Danville. The obvious benefactors are Hartselle, Decatur, and Priceville, because of their close proximity to the area. Hartselle and Falkville are the communities that I see benefiting the most economically, while I think we’ll see Decatur grabbing most of the population growth involved, followed by Hartselle, then Falkville, then Danville.

Apparently, the unemployment rate in the Decatur Metropolitan Area has decreased! The Decatur Metro was the ONLY part of the state to see a decrease in the unemployment rate in the ENTIRE state.

The Decatur Metropolitan Area, which consists of Morgan and Lawrence Counties saw the following:

in Morgan County, unemployment decreased from 10.2 to 10.1%
in Lawrence County, unemployment decreased from 12.4 to 12.3%

While the two counties saw a decrease, the rates were still high when compared to the counties with the lowest rates in the state. The lowest rate in the state was Shelby with 7.6 percent, followed by Madison with 7.9, then Coffee County (Enterprise/Elba in the Dothan Area) with 8.2. The Coffee County rate was particularly pleasing. It shows that the Wiregrass region of Alabama is now becoming a truly metropolitan region. Anyways, the lowest rate in the state was Wilcox with 24.4 percent.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Academy plat approved!

Posted by alalto on October 22, 2008


The Decatur Planning Commission approved the plat for the Academy Sports and Outdoors store adjacent to Home Depot along the Beltline. The city council still has to approve the utility vacations, but those are expected to pass easily.

A marketing director for Academy cited the strong/stable economy in Decatur as a big reason that the sports retail giant decided to expand into Decatur. This store will not only be one of the few in Alabama, but it will also be the first in the Huntsville-Decatur Area.

Also, the commission recomended that a large amount of acreage be annexed into the city of Decatur. This comes as a result of the city’s new sewage expansion fund that aids in the extension of sewer lines in order to annex more land into the city. The land being consider is located near Woodall Road along Alabama 20. McDonad’s was the first business to be attracted using the fund.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

McD’s and Annexation

Posted by alalto on October 1, 2008


I was correct about what I read in the paper the other day about what was being considered during the city council meeting. Decatur is getting it’s 4th McDonald’s restaraunt, it will be located on Alabama 20 near Woodall Road.

The developers of the McDonald’s are also planning to annex 130 acres into the city.

This annexation announcement has been brought on by the city’s use of a sewer fund to attract development by helping to cover the cost of sewer service, which is a huge draw to businesses and residential development.

This is the second time the fund has been used since it was created, the first being the 400 unit housing development on Burleson Mountain being built/annexed.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

City seeks downtown grant

Posted by alalto on September 30, 2008


The city council approved 5-0 a venture to ask for a state grant of $400,000 for streetscape work on the lower portion of Bank Street. Improvements would include the conversion of the 4 lanes to 2 lanes, diagonal parking, wider sidewalks, improved lighting and a brick paved median.

All of this would be meant to encourage development along the lower portion of Bank Street, which is key to improving the connection between downtown and Mid-Downtown (Bank Street). Funding is already being gathered for improvements on 2nd Avenue and Lee Street.

Judging by the topics covered in the city council meeting, it appears that a McDonalds (really just someone with the name McDonalds USA) might be locating along Alabama 20. I’ll see if I can figure anything else out.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Beltline, Job Growth, e Calhoun

Posted by alalto on September 10, 2008


Hello everyone, I hope you’ve had a good past….few weeks, haha, sorry for my absence, AGAIN.

Anyways, there really hasn’t been any news as of lately, until today! Phase 1 of the Beltline expansion is nearly finished and should be completed within 3 to 4 weeks. Phase 2 (the stretch between Alabama 20/ALT US 72 and Gordon Terry Parkway/Alabama 24) is expected to begin sometime soon. Insurance stuff between the railroads and the state have delayed the project a bit. Officials say that funding is not a problem.

Job Growth continues for Decatur. In Alabama Decatur has the highest percentage of companies expecting to hire more people.

Calhoun Community College is also expecting a record enrollment of nearly 10,000 students. Calhoun is the largest 2 year college in the state. Overall it is one of the largest colleges period. The largest being the University of Alabama with over 25,000.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Buses, Sweetwater and a sit down with the Mayoral candidates.

Posted by alalto on July 27, 2008


Decatur City Schools has approved expanding the current bus systems from 17 routes to 27 routes.  This will enable the busing system to encompass the entire system and allow full busing for all students.

The Daily recently sat down with mayoral candidates Don Kyle and Don Standford.  Both candidates talked about things like energy issues, citizen complaints, and Calhoun’s venture to locate an arts program downtown.  Both candidate’s answers were almost exactly the same, and both seemed like genuinely good candidates, but I’m still partial to Don Kyle. 

Some things I found interesting in the interview with the candidates was the mention of the downtown redevelopment proposals and some road construction proposals.  The downtown redevelopment was what I most enjoyed.  They both expect to have lower Bank Street redevelopment started in fiscal 2009 (if funding is available) and 2nd Avenue started in fiscal 2010.  2nd Avenue would be the most expensive at around $1.2 Million and Bank Street would be the least  at $874,000.  The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has already given $350,000 to the 2nd Avenue cause and local businesses have amassed some $112,000. 

As for road construction, there was mention of a proposed connector of Auburn Drive and Modaus Road in Southwestern Decatur.  This was interesting to hear, cause I’d NEVER heard of it.  There weren’t any details really offered at all.  But, it definitely sounds like a good proposal that would encourage a lot of residential growth in the Cedar Ridge area.

Finally, after 4 months, the city council is set to vote on whether or not to approve a contract with Genesis USA for the Sweetwater development.  If approved, Genesis would develop the first planned phase (125 acres) of the 536 acre property at the corner of Alabama 20 and I-65.  Sweetwater is to contain a Bass Pro Shops.  Genesis USA has yet to formalize a deal with any hotel developmer, which is key to repaying the debt that the city of Decatur would incure by offereing incentives to Genesis.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »