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Clanton Council purchases land connected to Exit 212 Master Plan

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

The Clanton City Council approved purchasing two parcels of land along Highway 145 for $3.2 million during a special called meeting on Oct. 21.

The city has a 30 day option on the property, in which to purchase the property or change its mind.

The move is just one step toward the realization of the proposed master plan for the Interstate 65, Exit 212 Corridor.

One parcel is 43 acres on the east side of the Highway 145, while the other is 9 acres on the west side.

The properties are about a quarter mile from Exit 212.

Mayor Bobby Cook said both properties were in the Master Plan as recommendations for the city to purchase for future retail development.

The vote was 3 to 1 in favor. Council members Awlahjaday Agee, Jeff Price and Mary Mell Smith voted in favor. Councilman Sammy Wilson voted against.

A price for the property had not been discussed publicly prior to the vote.

“I am not opposed to purchasing the property,” Wilson said. “I would like to know, and I am sure the taxpayers would like to know, what is the bottom line what the property is going to cost.”

He also had questions about whether a survey had been done, who would pay for it and who would pay closing costs.

Cook gave a total cost of $3.2 million.

He said one of the properties had already had a survey completed, so the city would not have to pay for one.

“I feel like the public ought to know what we are spending their money on,” Wilson said. “It’s their money.”

Price said work toward this had begun even under the late Mayor Billy Joe Driver.

He said until the Council approves something it makes sense to keep property owners’ names and potential purchase prices to those making the decision.

“Once it’s approved, it’s public,” Price said.

Wilson said the Council had not been given information ahead of time to study it thoroughly prior to the vote at the last meeting when it voted to pursue the property. Wilson had also voted against this.

The city will be borrowing money to purchase the property. Cook said the money will come from a bond issue. The Council had approved “engaging Walter Lewis (of Piper Sanders) for any future bond issue” that might be needed at its last meeting.

Further details on developments with the property were not released. However, Chuck Branch of NextSite is working on securing potential retail businesses for the property.

Daniel Communities was the realtor on the city’s behalf.

Also during the meeting, the Council approved the formation of the Capital Improvement Cooperative District. Agee, Price and Smith voted in favor. Wilson opposed.

Cook, Price and Smith were appointed to the board for the cooperative. Its first meeting for formation will be held on Oct. 22 at 10 a.m.