Valley city council approves $13M shopping expansion

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, March 1, 2023

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VALLEY — The Valley City Council has approved an incentive for an existing shopping center in the city to have a $13 million expansion and purchased an estimated 30 acres of property from the First Baptist Church of Valley. This action took place at the Monday evening’s council meeting. 

Located behind the Valley office of South State Bank, the Village Square Shopping Center is looking to add three, and perhaps four, new stores on the south end of the present shopping center in the area behind Dairy Queen. The city has agreed to rebate back to Valley Village Square LLC/Valley Outlot LLC a portion of its sales tax receipts not to exceed $4 million over a ten-year period starting when the new stores go in business. Mayor Leonard Riley has been authorized to represent the city in negotiating the final terms of the agreement. Some 50 percent of the sales tax generated by the new stores will offset a portion of the developer’s $13 million investment.

The land being purchased is located behind Valley Baptist and will link land presently owned by the city from the old Shawmut airport site to EAMC-Lanier Hospital.

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The city will be paying $220,000 for the 30.154-acre site. An 87-lot subdivision could be developed in that area, but that’s a project that’s a good bit down the road. A 33-lot subdiviosn near Waterford is more likely in the not-too-distant future.

In other business, the council held a second reading for and approved an ordinance to convey a new water tank off Fairfax Bypass to the East Alabama, Water Sewer & Fire Protection District. The city is also making some needed improvements to Harmon Road to provide better access to the tank.

Following complaints of Valley residents being overcharged for wrecker service, the council is taking action to amend an existing ordinance on this. A first reading on this change was held Monday. It could be approved following a second reading in March. The proposed rates are as follows: a maximum of $200 to impound a passenger vehicle and $225 to impound one that’s been wrecked. The night/weekend and holiday rate goes to $225 to impound and $300 for a wrecked vehicle. Mileage is $4 per mile one-way. The man-hour rate is $75 (but only if the tow takes more than one hour.) Proposed additional fees are $200 for a roll over, $75 for a winch, $50 for no key, $25 per bag of oil dry, $25 per window for window wrap and $150 for the entire vehicle, $175 per hour if an additional truck is needed and a $100 fee for an abandoned vehicle.

The council approved a three-item consent agenda. This included extending the cable franchise agreement with WOW!, accepting an offer from Colleen Boyd to purchase 20 surplus wooden tables from Valley Parks & Recreation for $5 per table, or $145 total, and approving an agreement with Alabama Power on a Made Ready Rebate Program.

A public hearing has been set prior to the council’s 6 p.m. needing on Monday, March 27th to rezone property off 55th Street where a new ammo plant will be built.

Chris Busby of the Chambers County Development Authority (CCDA) was present at the meeting to review the newly released CCDA annual report. He cited a major development in the city’s industrial park. It has been certified as a food and beverage site. “It indicates that this site is ideal for the manufacturing of food and beverage items,” he said.

Busby said that food and beverage companies like John Soules Foods provide stable employment even in down economic periods. “Everyone has to eat,” he said.

“We are working on a lot of projects right now,” he said. “Valley is primed for growth right now. and that’s in large measure to the leadership of the mayor and city council.”

Several new businesses opened in Valley this past year including Covered With Love, Priceless Moments Events & Rentals, the Four Corners Thrift Store and Valley Nutrition.

Public Works Director Patrick Bolt told the council the the Valley Tree Board’s annual tree giveaway would be starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 11th.

“I just hope we have better weather on that day than we did in last year’s tree giveaway,” said Council Member Jim Clark. It was unusually cold and windy that day.

Bolt said that some planned work by the state on Highway 29 on the south side of town would likely be taking place when the weather improves. The project includes some major work in Johnson’s Curve.

Police Chief Mike Reynolds told the council that two new officers are at the police academy and should be able to go out on patrol in the near future. “We still have one vacancy in the department,” he said. “Anyone who knows of a local person with good character they think would make a good police officer, contact us and we will give them fair consideration.”

Valley Parks & Recreation Director Laurie Blount said that Wednesday, March 1st is the final day to register for spring sports. She said the numbers are down this year for boys baseball and girls softball. “We’d like to see more numbers than we have right now,” she said.

Blount said that Saturday, April 15th would be Spring Clean Up Day in Valley. A shredder truck will be at the Valley Farmers Market Pavilion that day to have personal items destroyed. There will also be some electronic waste recycling.

Blount said she will have some updates on this by early April.