Hoover mayor: Cities must adapt for business growth

Published 2:42 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos spoke to the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce during Tuesday’s luncheon.

He addressed reports that morning that he was being interviewed Wednesday for the Jefferson County manager job.

He said taking the position, if offered, would be a big challenge, especially going from prosperous Hoover to Jefferson County, which is potentially facing the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy ever.

“It’s a mammoth undertaking,” said Petelos. “It’s a huge variation going from Hoover to Jefferson County.”

Petelos also spoke about some of the successes in Hoover during his two terms in office.

Blessed with the Riverchase Galleria, the city of Hoover has been able to pay for many of its capital projects without having to borrow money. But Petelos said the city has had to adapt recently as shopping centers in Alabaster, Bessemer, Fultondale and Trussville have opened.

“Competition has cropped up everywhere,” Petelos said.

Though he couldn’t go into specifics, the mayor said the city hopes to have an announcement soon about a new major tenant for the Galleria.

Part of adapting is working to fill empty big box retailers that have gone out of business, Petelos said.

“If you have one big box (go out of business), it causes those little boxes to empty,” Petelos said. “It’s a chain reaction.”

However, filling up empty stores takes hard work and some creativity sometimes, Petelos said.

For instance, two Bruno’s Supermarkets that went out of business are being converted to a YMCA and indoor shooting range. The former Goody’s is now a used bookstore.

“You have to be proactive … in making things so that they will work,” Petelos said. “Businesses move. Businesses change. And you just have to adapt.”