Oxford officials approve traffic study at site of planned FedEx facility
by Eddie Burkhalter
eburkhalter@annistonstar.com
Jan 14, 2014 | 5725 views |  0 comments | 74 74 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A portion of Fish Hatchery Road in Eastaboga is pictured. Several residents are concerned about possible accidents caused by trailer trucks along the narrow roads if a Fed Ex shipping facility opens there. Photo by Bill Wilson.
A portion of Fish Hatchery Road in Eastaboga is pictured. Several residents are concerned about possible accidents caused by trailer trucks along the narrow roads if a Fed Ex shipping facility opens there. Photo by Bill Wilson.
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OXFORD — The Oxford City Council agreed to pay for a traffic study of Fish Hatchery Lane in Eastaboga in hopes of making the area safer in preparation for the opening of a FedEx shipping facility there.

Esta Adams, 75, said she and others that live along Fish Hatchery Road, just off Fish Hatchery Lane, are concerned about possible accidents caused by trailer trucks along the narrow roads. Many who live along Fish Hatchery Road use Fish Hatchery Lane to access U.S. 78.

“I live right there close to it,” Adams said. “There are probably a hundred or more people that live on this road.”

The council agreed at Tuesday’s meeting to pay the Birmingham engineering firm Sain and Associates $7,500 to complete the traffic study.

There was no traffic study done on the road by the real estate developer or FedEx during the initial planning phase of the project, said council President Steven Waits.

“We’re concerned about the trucks coming in and out,” Waits said.

Dallas, Texas-based land development firm 42 Real Estate is listed as owner of the 12-acre plot at the intersection of Fish Hatchery Lane and U.S. 78, according to online tax records. The land was deeded to the development firm in August 2013 by the Calhoun County Economic Development Council, according to those records.

Efforts to reach a FedEx spokesperson for comment Tuesday were unsuccessful.

The firm will complete a current traffic count and estimate how much traffic will increase once the facility opens, said Councilman Mike Henderson. There is the possibility of widening sections of the road, council members said.

“They understand our concerns are safety,” Henderson said, speaking about the engineering firm.

The facility is scheduled to open this summer, said Don Hopper, executive director of the Calhoun County Economic Development Council.

In another matter, the council approved a 10-year tax abatement for Associated Metalcast Inc., exempting the company from paying local non-educational ad valorem taxes for the next decade.

The agreement will save the company approximately $5,900 a year and aid it in a $1.1 million expansion of an existing building at 787 HJ Bentley Jr. Parkway.

“Twelve new jobs within the next couple of years,” Hopper said.

Hopper said the expansion would put the company at more 56 employees, an increase of 43 workers since the company began in 1998.

“There are a lot of places not able to keep jobs, much less add jobs,” Waits said. “They’re investing $1.1 million into our community and we’re investing back in them.”

The council in January 2012 approved another tax abatement for the company to help in a $454,000 expansion of the plant, exempting it from non-education property taxes for five years.

In other business, the council:

— Agreed to pay Thompson’s Painting $4,925 to paint the Oxford Public Library.

— Agreed to begin the process of selling a city-owned vacant commercial building known as the Center Star building at 203 Hamric Drive. The council approved an offer from Oxford-based Shooters Alley LLC to buy the 53,000-square-foot building for $100,000 to open an indoor shooting alley in the building. The contract is contingent on future inspections of the property, said city attorney Bruce Rice. The city bought the building in 2001 for $312,000 and planned at that time to lease it to individuals or factories for storage.

The T-shirt company Center Star bought the building in 1987 but filed for bankruptcy in 1997. In 2002, the city agreed to lease the building to Walmart for storage.

Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.

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