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Off The Record: The latest rumors and rumblings in North Alabama


Huntsville plays it best

News broke this week about the deal between Food City and the City of Huntsville to build six stores. This announcement confirms an earlier report in OTR regarding efforts to land this new grocery chain. A close look at the development agreement and the map of the six locations shows that the city and the developer structured the deal so that they could serve all areas of Madison County but keep each location – and the sales tax revenue – within the city limits. 

Not letting up
More than 14,000 people and 230 exhibitors attended the 38th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs this month. One exhibitor that raised Colorado eyebrows was the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce. Both Huntsville and Colorado Springs continue their efforts to secure the Space Command Headquarters as the Colorado and Alabama congressional delegations spar almost weekly over the issue. One can only imagine the frosty response the Chamber received from their counterparts in Colorado as they worked to stay off the media’s radar. And to show turnaround is fair game, observers say Congressman Doug Lamborn, who represents Colorado Springs and leads their efforts to keep the headquarters, was spotted touring Redstone Arsenal and several aerospace companies in Research Park the week before the Colorado Symposium. 

If you build it …

One project slated for Town Madison that was a victim of the COVID financing crunch was the proposed travel baseball facility. With 12 synthetic surface fields, it was designed to attract travel baseball and softball tournaments of all ages. Word is that the developer of the project now has financing in place and may be adding fields for soccer as well. He has quietly been meeting with local officials and is targeting the area around I-65 and I-565 for a new site. Where it lands is important as it is expected to generate hundreds of thousands of visitors and will attract multiple hotels and restaurants that will want to locate on or close to the site.

Wetter and still dry

While Madison County adjusted its on-premise liquor license requirements for restaurants this week, Limestone County remains high and dry. At a recent County Commission meeting, commissioners voted against allowing a wet/dry referendum by popular vote. Supporters of a vote say being a dry county could hinder economic opportunities. You might recall a few years back when the city of Athens was dry, a certain grocery store chain wouldn’t commit to a location there until the vote to go wet.

South heads West

An Alabama legislator is stepping down to take on a new position. Rep. Kyle South will be resigning from his seat representing District 16 in the Alabama House of Representatives, a seat he’s held since 2014. South will be taking over as president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, a position previously held by Jim Page who stepped down last year to become executive vice president of MartinFederal Consulting in Huntsville. Before that, Page worked for nearly ten years as vice president of public policy and business development for the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce.

Lomax debut

North Alabama lawmaker James Lomax continues to make strides in Montgomery. The freshman legislator representing District 20 in Huntsville made his dapper debut appearance on the Capital Journal this week. The PBS show, hosted by longtime politico Todd Stacy, welcomed Lomax to the studio inside the statehouse to talk District 20 and his bill to prohibit state governments and local and county governments from purchasing drones manufactured in countries on sanctions list. Lomax outlined the risk of drones from China being equipped with chips. District 20 abuts Redstone Arsenal.

Have a rumor or rumbling to share? Email [email protected].

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