Clanton considering director of economic development

Published 12:43 pm Friday, October 7, 2022

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By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing editor

The Clanton City Council will consider creating a director of economic development during its Oct. 10 meeting.

Details of the position and a potential funding source were discussed during an Oct. 6 work session.

“We want to hire a full-time economic developer for the city of Clanton,” Mayor Jeff Mims said. “I think it is time … we have a very good board, and everyone has been working for free. We are reaping the benefits of what we’ve done in house … but we need someone working full-time because we’ve got this other property.”

He emphasized that the only way to do things like a fully staffed, full-time fire department in Clanton is to increase revenue, and that having a director of economic development for Clanton would actually benefit the entire county.

“We have been able to maximize our money with the people that we have hired here,” Mims said. “We have been able to collect monies that we (previously) haven’t been able to collect.”

He said staff has worked hard to get organized, and “we are reaping the benefits of it now.”

Funding for the director of economic development position could potentially come from a new hotel fee. A $2 fee per hotel room per night will be considered by the council. Mims said $1 would go to fund the new economic developer and the other $1 would go into the general fund. This fee would be in addition to the already existing 6% municipal lodging tax. The first reading of the ordinance change will be on Oct. 10.

Also during the work session, Mims gave an update on the hotel project. He said asbestos studies were being done on the existing hotel at 2000 Big M Boulevard, prior to demolition. A bid for the demolition and for timber cutting on another property the city owns are planned for the near future. Mansa Hospitality LLC will be bringing a Hampton Inn to the 2000 Big M Boulevard.

A causal dining restaurant has expressed interest in Clanton, and the city is working to have a property it recently purchased on Highway 31 near Poplar Springs Road ready for development by December.

“We have a long way to go between now and then,” Mims said.

Access to the property is one of the details being worked out. Mims said he was fairly certain that The Alabama Department of Transportation would not allow access from the Highway 31 side of the property.

A rezoning request that the council will consider for its Poplar Springs Road property on Oct. 6 is a part of the project. Mims said the city hopes to recruit two businesses to the site.

Updated drawings on the Poplar Springs Road project to move its intersection with Highway 31 have been presented to the mayor. Mims said it is nearing the bid stage.

Another project being discussed is renovating the house on the 527-acre property that the city owns jointly with the county near Interstate 65, Exit 212. A new roof is needed. Mims said he would like to see the structure used as a meeting place to discuss bringing businesses to the county with potential developers.

Also at the Oct. 10 voting session, the council will consider adding a four way stop at the intersection of Country Club Drive, Temple Road and Thrash Road, reducing the speed limit to 35 miles per hour on Temple and Thrash roads and reduce the speed limit to 25 miles per hour during school hours on Temple Road. Improvements would be paid for with a grant.

The council will move its second meeting in December to Dec. 22 at 2 p.m.