State of the City
Mayor David Mayor gave the State of the City Address at the October Leeds Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon to update attendees on what’s happening in Leeds, Alabama. During the Mayor’s tenure, over 1100 jobs have been created and more are in the works. The City’s annual budget was approved in the actual month that it was supposed to be approved and with a $500k+ surplus. Over $3.4m was saved with the refinanced bonds which took the interest rate from 8.5% to lower current rates of 3 ½-4 % just on people bonds.
The City has received numerous awards including being the #3 city for future wealth growth. Leeds is considered the hottest city right now with lots going on with current housing growth.
Leeds has received major infrastructure upgrades. The entire gas structure is being replaced by Spire and the pipe is going in the right of way rather than in the new highways.
New Parking Lot to Be Completed
New parking downtown will be completed soon. Lehigh Cement discounted their concrete pricing so Leeds will receive concrete rather than asphalt. With 70+ new employees in downtown Leeds and more coming with company expansions and the new downtown restaurant, more parking is desperately needed.
Paving Projects, Roads & Traffic Lights
All access roads, except for one have received major paving. Highway 78 to Highway 119 beyond the city limits and Ashville Road have all been paved.
Leeds will be getting a new traffic light at Highway 119 and President’s Street. The agreement has been completed and installation should happen in the next 30 days. Work will also include rework and widening of Highway 78 from President’s Street to the Park, match up and turn lanes to improve traffic to the Primary school.
What’s new in Leeds? Education is still a number one priority. The school is a major factor for people relocating here so we are proud of our Leeds City School system and all of our academic accomplishments.
Leeds is Open for Business
Leeds is open for business and we’ve brought in over 70 businesses. Bass Mall bonds refinancing have meant that Bass revenue is making more money now than bonds. Now, this revenue pays more than the bonds and the remainder after payments goes to the city.
Wintzell’s was a three year effort with everyone working together to close the deal to bring a sit-down restaurant to Leeds. We’re proud of our new downtown restaurant, the Three Earred Rabbit. Both restaurants are doing well and are great additions to the City.
Safe Routes to School Program
The Safe Routes to School Program includes sidewalks down Memorial Park, President Street and the high school to Highway 78 down Parkway Drive.
A major overhaul and outsource of 911 has increased our effectiveness to respond to emergencies.
The City now has marketing rights with the Bass Pro six acres with rights for hotels, restaurants as part of the bond deal. There are 10.5 acres of commercial land at the outlet mall and a developer is in process. There is a memorandum of understanding and some big box stuff is coming.
New Subdividions, Homes
A new subdivision is going up on Elliott Lane with Joe White. 21 upscale homes are going in. Price Hightower is building 53 new homes this side of Clairmont homes. On Rex Lake Road, part of the initial 700 acres that were annexed into Leeds with Daniel Corporation and U. S. Steel is now available. A major addition to the outlet mall with Taylor Hicks and Hunter Lake from Avondale Brewing will include major changes at the northern end of the mall. Saw’s BBQ, Ace Café and a brewery will be located at the end of the mall. Taylor Hicks is creating a music venue that will eventually end up as an open amphitheater. A 700 acre subdivision is underway with folks waiting in line for housing.
Moving Forward After Tax Referendum Failed
The tax referendum failed in regard to the city hall and school expansion. Since then, an exciting option has fallen into the City’s lap with the Alabama Power newly renovated building that is coming up for auction. The City will try to obtain that property which will leave the empty lot across from Lehigh and Windstream for a big civic center and library. Maybe the City can build when they can with the new sales tax revenue from retail.
Regional Sports Park on the Table
The new 275 acre sports park is on the table as part of the U. S. Steel deal behind Grand River. This regional sports park will draw people from all over the southeast with 5000 on weekends for sports tournaments. The park is anticipated to include 10-12 baseball fields, soccer, lacrosse, a 150k arena with 12 basketball courts. It looks really good and close to confirming.
Jefferson County may build the bridge needed across the Cahaba River to access that property and ability for additional development. It was previously agreed by the Cahaba River Society that we could cross the river. The bridge will be an 8m project supported by Jefferson County not only to the sports park, but to 3000 additional acres that U.S. Steel owns to get retailers like COSCO. The additional homes will put is in position to attract.
Buc-ee's is a Reality
Buc-ee’s is finally a reality with actual dirt moving to build which should happen in November. It was previously planned for October, but they are expanding the Leeds footprint for electric cars. This new company will bring 208 better than minimum wage jobs. Construction should be completed by next fall.
Exit 140 will have modifications to accommodate the additional traffic with Buc-ee’s and other growth. Buc-ee’s submitted their design to ALDOT for additional work, turn lanes, etc. and ALDOT will put a loop there from West and a flyover to handle traffic to Buc’ees and other growth coming to this exit to fix traffic problems as soon as ALDOT takes care of it.
Major paving efforts on Elliott Lane will pave the entire road next year with major improvements this summer.
5G Coming to Leeds
The Moody Verizon retail store is moving to a new building in Leeds next to Walgreen which is currently under construction. Verizon is getting ready to expand to 5G in Leeds which is a big deal.
Downtown Facade Programs
The City of proud of its downtown and Leeds is lucky to be one of the few cities that still has an old style downtown. The façade programs have provided grant money to interested building owners to improve the appearance of our storefronts downtown.
The City of Leeds is alive and well. We are excited about what the future holds with so many projects in the works.