Decatur Development Blog

Expansion and Development in the Greater Decatur area

Posts Tagged ‘Sweetwater’

Optimism has left the building…

Posted by alalto on August 27, 2008


Get ready Decatur. These next few years are gonna be ROUGH. I am extremely disappointed that Don Stanford one the race. Right when Don Kyle’s administration was starting to have some vision, and I was actually starting to have some faith in him, this happens… I can’t believe this is happening…

I don’t know what’s going to happen to the city. I can’t even begin to guess. Anything. All I know is that this man does not have the same vision for the city that Don Kyle, and his administration, were starting to develop. They were starting to realize the importance of redevelopment of downtown. They were starting to realize the importance of Northside (Northern reaches of the city limits) Development.

Ahhhh, this man is a cook I swear. He says that the city has already borrowed enough money, which means Sweetwater is good as dead. I don’t understand why he thinks that. I thought that the city has a near perfect credit score because it never borrows money.

The city was heading in a great direction. I think that’s probably over now. The bad thing is that in Decatur the transition between mayors usually takes about 6 months.

Thankfully though, Hartselle is keeping it’s current mayor. So that’s some good news. As far as I know, he’s been doing a pretty good job. Though, I’d like to see some more downtown redevelopment in Hartselle.

Some more good news is that Priceville is also keeping their mayor, Melvin Duran.

Yea, can you say stagnate? I welcome any and all responses I’ll do my best to get to them and reply in posts.

PS: Grazie Oogaboga, haha, I tend to mess up my grammar when I rant….

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District 2 race, MorgCo Health Department, and school board elections

Posted by alalto on August 3, 2008


There are five men seeking the seat of the city council District 2.   Of all of them, I did not see a GREAT candidate other than incumbent David Bolding and an unexpected visionary by the name of Jack Gresseman.  The others were less than impressive and seemed to steer away from being partisan on the questions that were asked.  Surprisingly, Gresseman only has a high school diploma and works at the Target Distribution Center in Limestone County.  

I was impressed with Gresseman’s answers though.  He had some pretty good things to say.  He proposed building up entertainment venues in the Sweetwater area of Decatur and constructing a sky lift between Sweetwater and Point Mallard.  That is something that could be really successful IMO.  I remember going to Point Mallard as a little kid and when we were finished swimming, we ALWAYS wanted to go get ice cream.  I have a feeling that a lot of people still feel this way, so people could just hop on the sky lift and head to Sweetwater and maybe go to Coldstone or Marble Slab.  I think it’s an AMAZING idea.

I liked Gresseman, Bolding, and James Tardy’s ideas about downtown redevelopment the best.  Gresseman proposed attracting more bars and eateries downtown to create more foot traffic.  Bolding discusses bringing more employees and students in, which I think is the key to a downtown’s success these days.  And Tardy is a business owner on 2nd Avenue, so I think his insight would be invaluable.

The MorgCo Commission is entering the hunt to aid the MorgCo Health Department find land for a new facility.  Sites being looked at are the Wallace Center on US 31 S in Decatur, sites in Hartselle, and a site along Old Moulton Road, in Moulton Heights, just outside the Decatur city limits.  

I think the Old Moulton Road site would be best.  The property is just outside of Decatur, and the annexation of this property for the health department would aid in annexation processes of the Moulton Heights area, which is a large and moderately populated area of Morgan County that is almost completely surrounded by the city of Decatur.  

District 1 race candidates are making dropouts and a central high school their number 1 platforms.  Mainly discussed was the idea of a central high school.  Personally I like the idea, but the costs would be enormous and there is really no where inside the city where you could build one.  Maybe along Central Parkway, but that’s only if you tear down Decatur Utilities.  Other proposals were to add floors to proposed future buildings at Austin High and adding a third floor to Decatur.  Both of those ideas are the best IMO.  One of the candidates even suggested tearing down Ogle Stadium.  That would be nothing short of pure stupidity.  There’s too much tradition in that stadium.  

Wow, that was a long post.  I still haven’t come up with that catchy slogan, I promise I’ll get back to yah.

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Ever been to Point Mallard???

Posted by alalto on July 30, 2008


Have you?

Cause if you haven’t, I’d recommend you go there before you become one of the ones that goes just because it’s the “cool thing” to do.

Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Dunlap is desperately looking for funding for improvements on Point Mallard Park. As many of you know, Point Mallard is where “America’s First Wave Pool” lies. Well, for the part that you may not be so familiar with is the increasing revenues that the park is experiencing during this horrible horrible HORRIBLE economic downturn.

I say this with sarcasm because the entire park has seen a revenue increase of 14%. Divided out, that’s 7% for the aquatic center, 9% for the general park, 19% for the golf course, 5% for the ice rink, and 24% for the campground.

Now, that’s grand over all. But, when you realize that the ice rink has not been the most popular attraction in Decatur it becomes pretty gasp-worthy. And the 24% for the campground, that’s just down right outstanding.

Well, Jeff Dunlap is looking for the city council to include in the bond issued for the Sweetwater development, funding for a lazy river ($2 Million). Dunlap is also asking that the city council hand the park $180,000 to provide sewer hookups to the the C and D parts of the campground. The campground is usually booked completely throughout the year by people who are wanting to stay throughout the entirety of the city’s festivals held at the park.

You may be asking, what justifies all this? Well, the fact that the Aquatic Center is the 2nd most popular amusement park in the state might just give you that answer. Also, with the recent downturn in the economy and increasing gas prices, more people are staying closer to home and going to more local attractions.

Dunlap is hoping to capitalize on all of this by allowing the park to continue setting attendance and revenue records, as it has been each year for about the past 5 years.

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Doing business in Decatur, and 6th Avenue renovations

Posted by alalto on July 29, 2008


I was reading the Insider in the Birmingham News today. The article put the spotlite on the Alabama metros that ranked in a list of cities to do business. In the entire state, Auburn-Opelika ranked 5th, Huntsville was ranked 32nd, Tuscaloosa was ranked 90th, and Decatur was 100th. You can look at the link for the full list.

Birmingham News: Insider

The owner of the small shopping center at the corner of 6th Avenue and 11th Street SE is spending $65,000 on renovating the property. If you’re not familiar with where this is, it’s the center that Mando’s used to call home. I miss Mando’s 😦 Anyway, YAY! finally. This place has been look awful for the longest time, so it’s about time this place got a facelift.

Daily Article

In other news, the Chili’s that is being constructed at the corner of the Beltline and Modaus Rd SW is nearly finished.

The city of Priceville is asking the people that own the Morgan County Fairgrounds (they plan to move the fairgrounds to an area in Priceville) to drop the plan to move there. Which I do not agree with. Priceville needs some more development.

And the town of Trinity is petitioning MCATS (Morgan County Area Transit Service) to provide the town service. That should have already been done, considering that MCATS already services Eva and Lacey’s Spring.

BTW, here’s the Daily article about the city council approving the Sweetwater contract.

Daily article

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Ordinance Adopted

Posted by alalto on July 29, 2008


All voting members of the Decatur City Council voted in favor of the ordinance for the incentives for the Sweetwater development.  Billy Jackson (the council president) wasn’t very clear on what all the ordinance included, but I’m going to do some research and try to figure out what all is included.  Mr. Jackson made it seem like the ordinance approved the incentives so long as the city’s concerns were worked on.  Like I said, it wasn’t very clear, so I’m gonna do a bit of research.

SOME CLARIFICATION

Ok, so I snooped around and came across a video on WAFF.com.  It explains that the ordinance that was approved tonight formalized an agreement that guarentees a Bass Pro, hotel/convention center/225,000 square feet of retail space.  So, it seems that the city moved to accept the contract and what not.  Here’s the link if you wanna watch for yourself.  There’s going to be a story on WAFF tonight at 10PM about the meeting, so you can watch that and get some clear info, I’ll also try and post the link to that video on here for you.

WAFF Video

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City Council Meeting

Posted by alalto on July 28, 2008


I’m going to be going to the council meeting at 7PM soon.  They’re supposed to vote on accepting or rejecting the contract with Genesis USA for the Sweetwater Development.  I’ll post when I get home from the meeting about what happened.

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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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