Montgomery Business Journal

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September 2016

MONTGOMERY, BEST RUN CITY

Montgomery is the best-run city in the state, according to WalletHub, and is No. 51 nationwide.

The personal finance website analyzed 150 cities in six areas: financial stability, education, health, safety, economy, and infrastructure and pollution. Cities were then measured on total per-capita budgets. Montgomery was ranked in the top 30 in the infrastructure and pollution category as well as total per-capita budget.

“This is welcomed news and it’s truly a testament to our more than 2,500 city employees who work hard each and every day to make our community better,” Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said in a statement. “We strive to provide the most effective and efficient services possible, while catering to our community’s needs – especially public safety, economic development and infrastructure upgrades.”

20 MILLION UNITS

An auto analyst is predicting that there will be 20-plus million new vehicles sold yearly by 2018, and remember, 2015 set a record of 17.5 million units.

Hyundai has been selling 700,000-plus vehicles annually the last four years, including a record 760,000-plus units in 2015. Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama produces nearly 400,000 vehicles a year at its Montgomery plant.

FAMILIAR FACE ADDS NEW ROLE

The executive director of the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl has added a second hat. Johnny Williams is the new executive director of the Central Alabama Sports Association.

With his strong collegiate background, including stints as a football coach and athletic director, Williams will be a key player in recruiting college athletic events to Montgomery.

“We want to visit with all those conferences and educate them on our facilities and our vision for the community, and hopefully at some point they’ll choose us as the site for their championship,” Williams told the Montgomery Advertiser.

GAME-CHANGER

The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, which has helped change the image of Alabama and boosted tourism to a $12.6 billion industry in 2015, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Mark Fagan has written a comprehensive 384-page book about how the trail was the creation of the Retirement Systems of Alabama and its CEO David Bronner.

The book – The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail – Its History and Economic Impact – is available at NewSouth Books at 105 S. Court St. The bookstore’s phone number is (334) 834-3556 and the website is www.newsouthbooks.com.

The hardcover book costs $125.

RECYCLING CENTER WILL HAVE NEW OWNER

The City of Montgomery is poised to take over a waste recycling center for $625,000-plus and will assume debt from the previous owner, which is expected to file bankruptcy.

The Solid Waste Disposal Authority of the City of Montgomery will operate the $37 million facility until the city finds a buyer. The city will assume an annual debt payment of nearly $2.2 million, according to Barry Crabb, the city’s finance director.

NEW CONNECTOR ROAD

A public-private partnership has resulted in a new connector road for the Wynbrook and Dexter Ridge neighborhoods. The new road – Sweetwood Road – provides access to North Eastern Boulevard through Roy Hodges Boulevard. The $230,000 access road project will dramatically improve the response time by firetrucks to the neighborhoods – reducing the time by 50 percent.

The new access road will also benefit Alfa Realty, which is currently selling 125 acres in the Wynbrook subdivision for $1.5 million, according to Kevin Ketzler, president of Alfa Properties. Alfa Builders, which was shut down years ago, bought and developed the 250 homes in the subdivision.

HYUNDAI SETS MID-YEAR RECORD

Hyundai broke its six-month sales record with 374,061 units sold through June. The previous record was 371,150 vehicles sold during the first six months last year.

THINK TANK TALK

Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast, commander and president of Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, is talking about a think tank outside the base, Mayor Todd Strange said. The think tank would discuss how to convert ideas and concepts from the military into commercial applications.

MILITARY RETIREES LIKE ALABAMA

Alabama ranked 13th for the country’s best states for military retirees, according to WalletHub. The rankings were based on a number of factors, including cost of living; percentage of homeless veterans; percentage of veteran-owned businesses; job opportunities for veterans; state tax on military pensions; and ratio of VA health facilities for veterans. There were three main categories: quality of life, health care and economic environment.

The River Region has its fair share of military retirees with Maxwell Air Force Base and Gunter Annex.

NEW PROBATE/REVENUE OFFICE

Montgomery County opened a $1.5 million, nearly 9,000-square-foot probate/revenue office at the former Pier 1 building on McGehee Road.

“We are glad to see growth in this particular area,” Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton N. Dean Sr. said at the ribbon-cutting for the new facility.

The previous probate office on the city’s southside had been closed for about two years. There was no revenue office at the old location on Woodley Road.

Montgomery County Commission Vice Chairman Dan Harris said the new location will help revitalize the strip mall, which has vacant buildings.

SPRUCING UP WEST FAIRVIEW AVENUE

The City of Montgomery is undergoing a major renovation of West Fairview Avenue from Interstate-65 to Air Base Boulevard in a $1.4 million project. The road will be repaved and new traffic signals and sidewalk ramps for the disabled will be added.

MONTGOMERY RECEIVES ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD

The Environmental Protection Agency presented the 2016 EPA Rain Catcher Award in the municipal category to the City of Montgomery for the Fairview Environmental Park project.

The park has about four acres of green infrastructure for recreational use while protecting the area’s watershed.

“This park not only provides scenic beauty to neighborhoods along the Voting Rights Trail for residents throughout Montgomery, but it will purify and protect our watershed for years to come,” Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said in a statement. “It’s another vital step in reclaiming our community’s abundant natural resources, while expanding our revitalization efforts along West Fairview.”

TRIBE EXPANDS ITS REACH

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians purchased the Margaritaville Resort Casino in Bossier City, La., and is partnering with the Washoe Tribe to build a small casino in Gardnerville, Nev.

The 500,000-square-foot Margaritaville Resort Casino features 1,000-plus slot machines and table games in addition to a 395-room hotel and six restaurants.

The Nevada casino will be located next to the Washoe Tribe’s $11.8 million travel plaza.

The Poarch Creek Indians bought the Royal D‘Iberville casino site in Mississippi earlier this year and is developing the $200 million Blue Collar Country entertainment complex in Foley.

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