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Brundidge Council considers business opportunities

The city of Brundidge isn't sitting around waiting for business opportunities to come its way. Mayor Jimmy Ramage told council members Tuesday that the administration is actively pursuing several possible opportunities for business.

"AEC has a grant program for spec buildings," Ramage said. "They pay 50 percent of the cost of the building; the city is responsible for 25 percent and the other 25 percent can come for other sources."

Ramage said the 50 percent grant match from AEC does not have to be paid back and a lot of cities in South Alabama are taking advantage of the grant to attract business to their community.

Ramage said the spec buildings are usually little more than shells that can be finished according to the tenant's plans.

"A good plan is to build a small building with a larger pad so it can been expanded when needed," he said, adding that having an available spec building would be a strong selling point when potential businesses come looking.

Ramage said the Economic Development Authority is sponsoring a pilgrimage to Tupelo, Miss., to learn more about the great success story built around the home of Elvis Presley. He suggested that much could be learned from what others have done to build their business communities.

The mayor also reminded council members that open house for the Wal-Mart distribution center will be held at 10 a.m. on March 31.

"The public is invited to the open house and we hope to have a large crowd," Ramage said. "There is a good possibility that Gov. (Bob) Riley will be here, so it will be a big day."

Britt Thomas, city manager, suggested that the traffic light at the Wal-Mart on Sara Lott Blvd. be turned on.

"I think it would be a good idea if local motorist begin to get used to the traffic light," Thomas said. "Right now it's being operated as a caution light. In a few weeks trucks will be moving in and out and motorists need to get used to stopping before the trucks start moving. And, if any adjustments need to be made to the traffic light, now would be the best time."

Council members agreed. The light will be turned on within the next two to three weeks, Thomas said.

Thomas also reported that the conversion of the city electric system is under way.

"The project has been held up because of financial requirements, but data is now being gathered and a detailed list is being made," he said.

The materials for the project will be purchased by the city and issued out of inventory, probably in June.

"That's when the heavy money requirements for the city start," he said. The conversion should be completed by March 2005.

In other business, the council:

€ Approved the purchase of a 2004 Ford SUV from Floyd Shirley Ford in Brundidge for use by the police department.

€ Approved a liquor license for the Social Caf\u00E9 and Lounge on Highway 10 East.