Report targets Bass Pro's promises to potential sites - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Report targets Bass Pro's promises to potential sites

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The city of Decatur is putting up $40-million in incentives. The city of Decatur is putting up $40-million in incentives.
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DECATUR, AL (WAFF) -

The Sweetwater development is expected to bring in around three million visitors a year to Decatur and millions more in tax revenue.

Details of the shopping center are still hush-hush but for years, Bass Pro Shops has been the rumored anchor store.

However, new study says Bass Pro doesn't always reel in those figures.    

A report by the Public Accountability Initiative called "Fishing for Taxpayer Cash" looked at 22 cities across the country that used incentives to lure in the store. Prattville, Leeds and Spanish Fort made the list.

The economy crashed right around the opening of the one in Prattville, and their development went bankrupt.

The report also said Leeds had issues with their banking agent and Spanish Fort hasn't seen the rush of customers expected.

Decatur city leaders say they are not putting their general fund at risk with the Sweetwater development project.

"We are not in the risk business; cities are in the service and provision business. Although any inducement is a little bit risky, we have to minimize our risk the best way we can, that is to be ultra conservative in how we invest in that new development," said Decatur Mayor Don Kyle.

Officials in Decatur's economic development department also took a close look at their neighbors to the south.

"We all have learned a lot. Leeds has learned a lot through their process and Prattville and I'm sure other places across the country. To some degree, we have the benefit to understand the dynamics of a project like this," said Wally Terry, Economic Development Director.

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