By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Three Atmore City Council members gave the green light during their Monday (July 9) meeting to the sale of a city lot at Rivercane, where the purchaser plans to build the city’s second Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.
With little discussion of the particulars, councilmen Chris Walker, Webb Nall and Chris Harrison — the only members present at Monday’s meeting — gave unanimous consent to the deal. Council members Jerome Webster and Susan Smith were reportedly out of town and did not attend the session.
Mayor Jim Staff said prior to adjournment that no official survey has yet been done on the lot, which is just south of Hampton Inn, near Interstate 65.
Staff did say that Jack Marshall Foods, which also owns the KFC on South Main Street, has agreed to pay $7 per square foot for the property.
“It’s an odd-shaped lot, not really good for anything else,” Staff said during a Tuesday morning interview with Atmore’s WBZR radio.
Staff also said the company had revealed plans to renovate its South Main Street restaurant.
“They say they’re going to remodel it, bring it up to speed,” he said.
Attempts to reach officials of Jack Marshall Foods — which owns more than two dozen KFC outlets in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky — were unsuccessful by Tuesday’s press deadline.
Sales Tax Holiday
Council members also formally approved Monday the participation by local retailers in the 13th annual statewide back-to-school sales tax holiday. Atmore businesses have for the past several years declined to take part in the annual tax moratorium.
“We did a survey, and all the merchants in Atmore wanted to participate,” Staff said. “Five years ago, they didn’t want to, but we’ve got a lot of younger store owners and store managers now, and they’re excited about it.”
The sales tax holiday begins Friday morning, July 20 (midnight Thursday) and continues through midnight Sunday, July 22.
Trash on Patterson
As the Monday meeting drew to a close and the mayor asked if any member of the audience had questions or comments on any topic, local resident Michael Arnold spoke up.
“What is being done about the trash on Patterson Street and Brooks Lane?” Arnold asked. “They have a dumpster out there, but it looks more like the city dump. Couldn’t [the owner] be made to keep that property clean? It’s an eyesore, especially being right there on [Alabama Highway] 21.”
Calvin Grace, director of streets and sanitation for the city, said municipal crews had cleaned up the litter “probably two weeks ago,” and Staff said the city “stays after [the property owner]” to little avail.
Arnold then suggested that imposition of a financial penalty might be the solution to the problem, to which the mayor noted that, “it’s the people who live out there” who are the root of the problem.
“The city fines him, he fines his tenants,” Arnold replied. “If the city would put pressure on him, he would put pressure on his tenants, and maybe it would be clean.”
There being no further business or public comments, the meeting was adjourned.
News photo by Ditto Gorme