McClellan Development Authority asks for Oxford’s help
by Eddie Burkhalter
eburkhalter@annistonstar.com
Aug 27, 2013 | 4453 views |  0 comments | 82 82 recommendations | email to a friend | print
OXFORD — The last document of a slideshow shown to council members Tuesday had the names of all the cities and organization that have agreed to help develop McClellan, with one notable exception.

Oxford is the lone holdout among local cities that have agreed to contribute money to the McClellan Development Authority. The nonprofit organization formed in March 2010 with the purpose of transforming the former U.S. Army training facility into a maze of industrial parks and commercial businesses, creating thousands of jobs.

Robin Scott, director of the authority, spoke to the council Tuesday about plans to develop the 9,700-acre site, and to ask Oxford to join the partnership.

“There’s been a lot that we’ve accomplished out there moving toward our goal,” Scott said, describing the many buildings that have been demolished and land that’s been cleared.

Scott said that since 2009, $1.2 million worth of McClellan property has been sold, and two other large real estate deals will close in the coming months. All of that, he explained, will mean additional jobs and tax revenue, not just for Anniston, but for all the surrounding communities.

Phil Webb, board chairman of the authority and owner of Oxford’s Webb Concrete, said jobs created inside McClellan could bring more shoppers and residents to Oxford.

“We need jobs, and we need jobs in this county,” Webb said.

If all cities and organizations in the area agree to help, Webb said “everyone is going to prosper.”

Already partnered in what the authority is calling the McClellan Area Regional Development Compact are Calhoun County, Jacksonville, Piedmont, Weaver, Ohatchee and Hobson City as well as the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce, the Calhoun County Economic Development Council, Jacksonville State University and Gadsden State Community College.

When asked after the presentation if he would consider joining the compact, Mayor Leon Smith said there remains some details to look over, but “I think we can do something there.”

Contributions to the project already promised are:

• Jacksonville - $120,000

• Weaver - $40,000

• Piedmont $20,000

• Ohatchee $8,000

• Calhoun County - $400,000

• Anniston - $1.2 million.

A few miles down the road from Oxford’s own job-creating complex — the Oxford Exchange — a traffic light will soon be going up in an move to reduce accidents at a busy intersection.

The council agreed Tuesday to pay Birmingham-based construction company Stones and Sons $27,502 to install a traffic light at the intersection of Friendship Road and Leon Smith Parkway. At least 93 accidents have taken place there since the parkway opened in 2004.

The traffic light could be installed in as little as two weeks, said Council President Steven Waits.

In other business, the council:

• Appointed Jason Bedford to the Parks and Recreation Board. Bedford is replacing Sean Perez on the board, whose term was to end March 24, 2018.

• Announced the Oxford Performing Arts Center will hold an open house Sept. 8 at 2 p.m.

• Agreed to pay the $1,300 admission for three members of the Oxford Arts Council to attend the Performing Arts Exchange Show in Nashville in September.

Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.

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