City of Valley votes to annex property linking Fob James Dr with 55th Street

Published 9:30 am Thursday, December 22, 2022

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VALLEY — The City of Valley purchased the 230-acre Burney property some time back. On Monday, it was officially annexed into the city.

The site has been cleared of trees and a new road is being built across it, linking Fob James Drive with 55th Street. The road will be opened once it is paved and passes inspections. There’s a similar situation with a new road that connects Valley Industrial Drive with Combs Road.

“The city got some flack with its property purchases,” outgoing Planning and Development Director Travis Carter said at Monday’s city council meeting, “but it’s a great investment into the city’s future. As the major property owner on the west side of town near Exit 77 on I-85, the city controls how the land can be developed. If the city is going to grow, it will have to be near the Interstate.”

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The city now owns more than 1,200 acres just off the I-85. Some businesses have made commitments to locate on that property, and many more will likely be coming. On 55th Street, for example, Brumfield Electrical & Communications (BEC) and Riggers, Fabricators & Millwrights, Inc. (RFM) will be locating in the near future. Other sites along Fob James Drive have been sold by the city for possible locations of restaurants and convenience stores.

There’s also a commitment on the part of Ammo 1776 to build a manufacturing plant that will employ several hundred people.

The rules were suspended, and an ordinance to annex the land into the city was approved unanimously following a first reading.

Valley Parks & Recreation Director Laurie Blount said the crowds have been good at the Christmas Merry Go Round. “It worked out that all area schools were able to ride it this year,” she said.

Rain and cold weather could slow down participation this week.  The season could be cut short on Friday. “I don’t want my staff out in really cold weather and getting sick when no one is coming,” she said.

Updates on a possible early closing will be on the city’s Facebook page.

The Community Center will be open from 7 a.m. till 4 p.m. on Friday and will be closed for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on Saturday and Sunday. The Community Center will be open from 7 to 4 next Saturday, which will be New Year’s Eve and closed all day on Sunday, January 1st.

Public Works Director Patrick Bolt will have 2 or 3 trucks out on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to pick up curbside debris, such as the cardboard boxes expensive Christmas gifts came in.

Police Chief Mike Reynolds urged city residents to be careful with that. He recommends tearing up the boxes so potential burglars who may be riding the streets won’t be tipped off that Santa left you an 80-inch TV.

“Be especially careful this week and next,” he said. “Burglaries and thefts usually pick up before and just after Christmas. Keep your home and your cars locked all the time.”

The council approved a resolution to close a portion of 24th Avenue. This is an issue that was discussed at public hearings in August and September. This is a little-used street that cuts off Cleveland Road. It would take some $200,000 in repair work to make the road passable again. The city instead will cut a big ditch across the road and fill it with rip rap. This will be designed to divert water runoffs in periods of heavy rain.

The council also approved a grant agreement with the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission. This is a routine annual agreement that helps fund Valley Senior Center.

An ordinance was approved to sell a city-owned lot to Johnnie Thomas for $700. The rules were suspended to approve the sale on a first reading. The land is located off Williams Boulevard.

The council imposed weed liens on properties owned by Langdale Mill LLC, MDC Coastal on Highway 29, Green Property Investments on 46th Street, Henry Yu on 35th Street, Latrice Sharpe on 21st Avenue and Andrea Thomas on 55th Street.