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Annexation plan seen as boost to economic growth

By Staff
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
The proposed annexation of 139 acres in the vicinity of the I-65 and Thompson Road interchange is a boost for the future economic growth of Hartselle, according to the affected property owners and city officials.
A request to annex the property was presented to the Hartselle Planning Commission at its monthly meeting on Tuesday. It was approved by a vote of 8-0-1 and passed on to the city council with a recommendation for approval. Since such a request does not require a public hearing, the council could act on the matter at its Dec. 14 meeting.
The property in question consists of 18 acres fronting on the east side of Byrd Road and I-65 and 54 acres fronting on the west side of Byrd Road, both of which are jointly owned by James Kifer and Jim Corum, Kevin Corum and Reggie Corum, a 12-acre tract fronting on Thompson Road, owned solely by Jim Corum, and a 53-acre tract fronting on Byrd Road and I-65, co-owned by Terry D. Kellogg, Laura R. Kellogg and Bill N. Russell.
"We have talked to city officials about annexation in the past." Jim Corum said, "but discussions always seemed to bog down over the question of which comes first the chicken or the egg."
His reference was to the fact that the area is not currently served by sewer and needs it to attract development. Although the subject has been discussed at length between the city, Hartselle Utilities and landowners, there is no plan in place to fund such a project.
"We decided to go ahead and put the land up for annexation because somebody needed to make the first move," Corum stated. "It's a goodwill gesture on our part. We want to send the message that we are ready for development."
City planner Jeremy Griffith said the area is identified in the city's comprehensive plan with a number two priority for annexation.
"It is recommended for industrial use but some of it is also well suited for retail business development. This is a key step for the city as far as future economic development is concerned," he pointed out.
Mayor Dwight Tankersley thanked council member Mark Mizell for doing some of the legwork that led to getting the proposal to the planning commission.
"I think this area is very important to the economic growth of our community. And, I think it will be well received by council members when it comes to them for consideration," he pointed out.
Tankersley said he anticipates that the council and utilities board will work together to come up with a funding plan to extend sewer to the area.