Decatur leaders keep mum about development meeting - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Decatur leaders keep mum about development meeting

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Negotiations with Sweetwater developers have been revived, but it's not confirmed if the sessions are about the specific project. Negotiations with Sweetwater developers have been revived, but it's not confirmed if the sessions are about the specific project.
DECATUR, AL (WAFF) -

Decatur city leaders said they are working on a big economic development deal, but won't say what it is. The city council went into executive session Thursday to sort out the details.

City Council President Gary Hammon confirmed Mayor Don Kyle and Councilman Chuck Ard revived negotiations with the proposed Sweetwater developers and said what they talked about today would be a major economic development. However, he would not confirm Thursday's meeting was about Sweetwater specifically.

The council held a special meeting away from council chambers, going into executive session without the public or the media. The revival of talks with Sweetwater developers comes after the deal died last fall. The proposal then was for a $1.5 billion complex with restaurants, shops, a hotel and several major anchor stores, including a Bass Pro Shop.

The development would have been on the Limestone County side of Decatur, a 125-acre plot at the corner of Alabama 20 and Interstate 65.

We will have to wait to find out whether Thursday's meeting was about Sweetwater. "This meeting was called to listen to a proposal that the mayor has been involved in negotiating," said Hammon. "The rest of us are kind of up in the air."

The council cited the Alabama Trade Secrets Act as justification for holding the meeting outside of the public's eye. The act allows the city to keep ongoing negotiations confidential to prevent jeopardizing a deal - for instance, preventing another city from gaining a competitive edge.

Attorney and former Decatur councilman Gary Reeves said sometimes the business a city tries to attract wants confidentiality to avoid tainting negotiations. He added once a tentative deal is reached, the council then needs to publicize the details to allow taxpayers time to voice their opinions before a vote.

Monday night, the city council will set the agenda for the following Monday, March 17, and that could include a vote.

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  • Sweetwater timeline

    Sweetwater timeline

    Monday, April 7 2014 10:57 PM EDT2014-04-08 02:57:47 GMT
    Past deals: 2008: First announcement 2008: Deal goes sour 2009: Downsizing rumors 2009: On hold 2013: Resurrected plan 2013: Plan dead, will rise Current deal: City announces deal Bass Pro involved MarketingMore >>
    Past deals: 2008: First announcement 2008: Deal goes sour 2009: Downsizing rumors 2009: On hold 2013: Resurrected plan 2013: Plan dead, will rise Current deal: City announces deal Bass Pro involved MarketingMore >>
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