Fort Payne City Council voted on $3 million grocery store, public opinion heard in meeting
FORT PAYNE, Ala. - On Tuesday, the people of Fort Payne had the chance to tell city leaders what they thought of the city using taxpayer dollars to help bring in a new Food City grocery store during a public meeting.
The people were split between being for or against the expensive investment. The people for the new store say they are welcome to have a new variety in their shopping options, while people that oppose would rather see the money spent on their already established businesses.
Ultimately City Council members voted 3-1 in favor of entering a memorandum of understanding with Marathon Realty, the developer that wants to build the store. As a part of the agreement, the city will pay more than $3 million to develop the store on Gault Avenue.
The City Council failed to pass a similar agreement in February. Months after the attempt local business owners sued the city, claiming the city violated state law by agreeing to use taxpayer dollars to build the grocery store.
The complaint filed by the owners read that the city should have passed a resolution and failed to disclose all the corporations that would benefit from the agreement.
City Council President Walter Watson says that this time the process is different and that Tuesday’s meeting allowed residents to voice their concerns and fix problems from the original agreement.
“We have got to keep moving forward in the city of Fort Payne. Other cities around us that are moving forward they’re making these decisions,” said Watson. “I understand that these citizens would like for us to give them some funds. Unfortunately, those funds weren’t there when they built their faculties.”
Councilman Watson voted in favor of the investment and says the part of the town in which the grocery store will be is in need of upgrades.
“That section of town that they’re coming in needs an uplift,” said Watson. “I know bringing in something that is kind of new will cause property values around it to actually increase and start to upgrade that section and side of town. I’m looking forward to what they will bring in and I think it gives the citizens an opportunity to have a choice in what that purchase.”
The meeting was live streamed and can be viewed on the City of Fort Payne Facebook page along with a fact sheet provided below.
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