By Fred Woods
Prior to this week’s regular Lee County Commission meeting, the commission, along with Circuit Clerk Mary Roberson and District Attorney Robbie Treese, dedicated the T.K.Davis, Jr., Justice Center’s expansion with a ribbon-cutting. The 48,000 square-foot expansion contains expanded space for both the circuit clerk and district attorney staffs, as well as a new entry to the Justice Center complex. Both Roberson and Treese commented on the vastly improved facilities over their former cramped office space. Treese added that these are state-of-the-art and the best in the state.
At the commission meeting, Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller requested county assistance in clearing and grubbing two industrial development sites in northeast Opelika. Due to on-going negitiations Fuller was not able to provide specific information about the companies involved, but said said “both projects are very significant capital investments and large job creators.”
The county assistance will be limited to one, possibly two, bulldozers and their operator(s) and is contingent upon the city obtaining on-site debris burning permits. One site is 20 acres in size, the other is 50 acres. In making his request, Fuller reviewed the results of similar past county assistance to Opelika which, Mayor Fuller said, has led to almost a billion dollars in direct capital investment and approximately 2,000 local jobs.
Commissioners approved Fuller’s request by a 4-1 vote. Commissioner Harris voted against providing the assistance, saying the city has more resources than the county and could afford to finance the whole operation. Other commissioners recognized the benefits of industrial expansion to the entire county.
The clearing and grubbing (digging/pushing up stumps and roots) will begin as soon as trees are harvested from the sites which should begin in the next several days.
In other action, the commission
-Upon Commissioner Harris’ motion, voted 4 – 1 to reactivate/reappoint the Lee County Industrial Development Board. Current members (all terms have expired but they continue to serve until successors are named) are John Rice, Randy Price, Lewis Cannon, La Faye Dellinger and Larry Warren,
– Set reduced speed limits for several county roads in the Smiths Station area including Lee road 236 and roads in the Silver Run and Mallard Creek Subdivisions.