News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
FRIDAY, JANUARY 14, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Use of Wallace Center property needs study

A good project for the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce might be to commission a study of how best to use the 159 acres in the closed Lurleen B. Wallace Development Center on U.S. 31 South.

With the property located on a main highway and between Decatur and Hartselle, the site might be a good choice for a shopping development such as the one proposed for Target, Old Navy and Circuit City.

Then again, it might be best suited for some sort of technology park. Or a prison.

The point is, this is prime property that needs more scrutiny than how mayors and state legislators think it should be used.

The property and 21 buildings appraised for $8.5 million. Mental heath Commissioner Kathy Sawyer this week again urged local officials to propose use for the property, although she wants to retain it for some state function.

Returning the site to tax rolls would go a long way toward making up the $12 million payroll lost when the center closed. It could also provide jobs for the nearly 300 employees who lost employment.

Most Morgan County residents had rather see a shopping district there than to have some form of minimum security prison facility, which is a distinct possibility.

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