McCoy looks forward to Lanett projects for 2019

Published 6:37 pm Wednesday, January 2, 2019

LANETT – Improving quality of life is a big goal for Lanett Mayor Kyle McCoy.

He got started in 2018 with the downtown beautification project, constructing new sidewalks on both sides of the road from First Street to North Fifth Street. The next phase of the project will be to continue it all the way down to North 12th Street, just shy of the Corner Store in West Point.

McCoy said the money for the project has to stay in Alabama, but he wants to get all the way to the state line.

Email newsletter signup

“We want there to be a flow from the (Point) University all the way to the downtown area,” he said. “It can be a jogging trail, a walking trail or just a place for people to walk around.”

McCoy said it’s important for city to continue to improve its appearance in 2019, especially as Point University continues to grow and more students make their home in Lanett while enrolled.

He said West Point has done a great job rehabilitating the building it has, but space is starting to get scarce and Lanett has the space to accommodate any overflow. However, he said, nobody will want to live there or open a new business if the town looks bad.

“It is also good for recruitment,” McCoy said. “The first thing people want to do when they finish riding up and down Highway 29, they want to check out the downtown.”

He said the city council wants to promote the downtown and take a new direction.

The relationship between McCoy, West Point Mayor Steve Tramell, and Valley Mayor Leonard Riley is something the Lanett mayor is proud of. He said there’s no point in the city’s competing with each other to obtain the same goal.

“We all three kind of get it,” McCoy said. “There is no point in me doing something and Valley trying to do the same thing.”

He mentioned the firework shows and the Christmas Tree Lighting, as well as HolidayFest on the River as events the towns promote together.

McCoy said Lanett has about 7,000 people, Valley has about 9,000 people and West Point has about 3,000 people. When adding in Huguley and other unincorporated areas of the Valley, that makes about 22,000 people in the region, which makes for a good market for one McDonalds, but not for one in each city, McCoy said.

He said there isn’t a lot of available land for new construction on the Lanett side, but there is an airport, which gives it the ability to work with those other cities. McCoy said if those other cities are able to attract new businesses, that’s great, but the Lanett airport is needed to bring in officials from those major companies to be closer to the destination.

Speaking of the airport, McCoy hopes to improve the airport by adding about 800 feet, which will allow for larger planes to land there. Due to insurance purposes, McCoy said, the runway needs to be at least 5,000 feet for large aircraft to land without an emergency. If the city can pull it off, it would allow for more recruitment opportunities for economic development.

“At the end of the day, it benefits everybody,” he said.

“We’ve had a really good cohesive, working relationship between us.”

Also in 2019, McCoy said the city will continue to tear down dilapidated homes to continue making Lanett more attractive.

He said the city would typically love to have more houses and rooftops because it expands its utility base, but not at the expense of property values and eyesores scattered throughout the town.

“It is not in our interest to tear down houses because each house we tear down, we lose a meter,” McCoy said. “However, if we allow houses to remain dilapidated and not bring it up to code, you are bringing down property values throughout the neighborhood.”