Decatur Development Blog

Expansion and Development in the Greater Decatur area

Posts Tagged ‘Interstate 65’

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.

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Could Calhoun Come Calling????

Posted by alalto on May 12, 2009


So, in today’s Daily, Senator Arthur Orr pitched the requests for the Calhoun downtown campus to the city council. Basically, it just outlined what he believes is needed from the city for the project to move forward. These types of things include the old furniture store on 2nd Ave, the old DU Warehouse and the former Elks’ Lodge building. I’m almost certain that the city will deed these properties to the cause, considering that they’ve pretty much been sitting on these structures, waiting for the moment to hand them over to the college.

The city’s contributions are nearly a check off for the project, and I’m sure the county’s contributions are the same status.

I don’t think I’ve ever been more sure about this project. Finally seems like it’s going to happen. I’m so happy with this project that I can hardly stand it. It will be amazing to see more traffic and economic activity in downtown without taking business away from 6th Avenue and the Beltline.

Other things going on…

I noticed that the intersection of to streets just off Stratford Road SE is being improved. This intersection, that is heavily traveled by cars on their way to Eastwood Elementary in the mornings, and can be quite interesting to drive through with the kind of drainage that exists. Anyways, it’s improving.

Also, the weather monitoring system along Interstate 65 at the Tennessee River bridge is nearly complete, if not complete already. This system is supposed to aid in the notification of conditions along the nearly 2.5 mile long bridge. Which, I’m sure we all know, is quite frightening to drive over during hazardous conditions. If I’m not mistaken, some notification screens, much like the ones along McFarland Boulevard in Tuscaloosa, should be in place to notify motorists, but I’m not completely sure about it.

In other news, Lawrence County Schools has decided to consolidate some HS’s in order to save money and such. Lawrence has been hard hit by their shrinking population, so they’ve had to come up with some different type of organization to aid in making the system more…organized.

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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.

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