News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 2005


Lifestyle development would fit here nicely

No one can fault local insurance executive Rex Rankin III, who grow up here, and his partner Doug Gooch for wondering if their plan for taking over Point Mallard Park is all but formally dead.

There is opposition to the $256 million project from Pointe Mallard residents, who don't want the congestion, and the public, which doesn't want this favorite playground to go private.

And City Council members are not jumping up and down in support of the plan, either.

Their concept for RiverCountry planned to take advantage of the Tennessee River along with the golf course around which hotels, shops, homes and other attractions would go up.

Now they seem to have moved on to the Huntsville area with a different concept that's apparently more compatible with the Old Monrovia Road area and doesn't incorporate a water theme.

Theirs is a wonderful concept of single-family homes and loft apartments over commercial space that has a glass-walled conservatory as its centerpiece. They also plan a retail village across Old Monrovia from the 35-acre development.

It's disappointing that they couldn't have been more flexible in their dealings here in Decatur, which needs that type of upscale development more than Huntsville does.

This apparent loss is not a case of the city sitting on its hands and seeing something good go elsewhere. It's that Point Mallard will best serve Decatur as a public park.

It would have been nice, however, if the developers had said, "Look, we have this alternate plan that would fit nicely along Alabama 20 in Decatur or on some other spot along I-65 in Morgan County."

Given the right development in the right location, they would have found an eagerness for their project here that far outweighs opposition to RiverCountry.

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