The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

April 8, 2014

Decatur OKs Sweetwater project

— It wasn’t resounding support for a project that can change the economic face of the area, but the Decatur City Council’s 3-2 vote Monday to authorize the controversial Sweetwater retail development gives it a green light.

The council approved an incentive package worth up to about $61 million for the project which would have a Bass Pro Outdoor World store as the anchor. The development is in Limestone County at the southwest corner of Interstate 65 and Alabama 20.

But Limestone County is not putting any money into the project. Officials have said they prefer to offer incentives to the manufacturing industry, not retail.

Last month,  Tom Hill, president of the Limestone County Economic Development Association told The News Courier “manufacturing jobs are typically higher paying jobs” and they lead to more manufacturing jobs through service and support companies.

“Retail doesn’t spin off,” he said

Decatur will pay to build an overpass connecting Alabama 20 to Bibb-Garrett Road and the to-be-named Bass Pro Drive, which will also be paid for by the city. Decatur also offered nearly $50 million in tax rebates for the store and a possible hotel.

The Bass Pro Outdoor World is scheduled to open in about two years.

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