Press Clippings


The Birmingham News
January 30, 2008

"Officials allow running line beneath I-65 to spur development"
by MALCOMB DANIELS, News staff writer

The Alabaster Water Board has agreed to jump-start plans to go under I-65 with a water line that's expected to open up areas around U.S. 31 and Shelby County 87 for development.

The new line could benefit Dunn Real Estate right away. Dunn is developing a commercial park on 50 acres just east of the interstate.

Dunn recently made a pitch to get the Water Board to put the interstate water line project on the front burner.

The company says its commerce park project will benefit the city because it could produce between 300 to 400 jobs.

Without the bigger water line going to the area, Dunn representatives said the company will not have enough water pressure to its site to meet city fire department requirements.

Chris Hoyt, the company's general manager, said Dunn is getting ready to buy an adjacent 100 acres that will become part of the commerce park, which it says it knows wouldn't be able to meet fire department requirements because of its location.

"It solves some problems," Pat Chumbley, an engineer for Dunn, said about having a new line under the interstate. "It solves a lot of problems."

Under plans being discussed, Dunn, the Water Board and the Alabaster Industrial Development Board would share the cost of putting in line, which board engineers say would carry an estimated $300,000 price tag.

Dunn and the Water Board would pay $50,000 each, with the IDB board covering the rest, possibly through an assessment that would be levied when lots were sold at the commercial park.

Water Board Manager Pete Lucas was directed by the board to begin preliminary work, such as securing permits for the new line, while the final details of financing is ironed out.

Putting the water line under the interstate is part of the board's 5-year plan, but it got pushed to the back while other projects were getting done.

Water Board Chairman Cathy Bradford said she supports the board doing what it can to get the ball rolling when there's the potential for jobs to be created.

"We're going to promote business," she said.