‘Steady, controlled growth’ is mayor’s goal
By Gary Lloyd
TRUSSVILLE — The questions are asked about as often as the signs are popping up.
What’s going on at the intersection of Deerfoot Parkway and Husky Parkway? An “Under Contract” sign emerges on U.S. Highway 11 near the Tutwiler Farm subdivision.
Why is land being cleared near Trussville Springs? A brown “For Sale” sign is planted in front of Eastminster Presbyterian Church.
That last item is the most recent. A merger of Eastminster Presbyterian Church and Grace Presbyterian Church is making the 5.5-acre site on U.S. Highway 11 in Trussville available for retail development. The two churches merged last year to form Cahaba Springs Presbyterian Church on Deerfoot Parkway. The Eastminster Presbyterian Church property is now up for sale, and Shannon-Waltchack is taking offers on the property. Ali Wilburn and George Elliott, two of the company’s brokers, are taking bids for the property from developers until Sunday, April 20.
The minimum bid for the property is set at $2.85 million.
According to a Shannon-Waltchack brochure about the property, an estimated 80,836 people lived within a five-mile radius of the property in 2013. Those residents had a median age of 37.1 years and a median household income of $50,369 with a per capita income of $24,638. Within one mile of the site, however, the median household income jumps to $63,412 with a per capita income of $42,075.
The brochure states that the property is “an extraordinary chance for a site in a very high demand retail market.”
Land owners and developers are apparently taking note of Trussville.
“I don’t see a boom coming, but I do see that the economy is slowly but surely coming back,” Trussville Mayor Gene Melton said. “The private sector looking to build out here and to open up new businesses is very encouraging.”
An “upscale commercial development” is planned for the intersection of Deerfoot Parkway and Husky Parkway. Signs along Deerfoot Parkway suggest a new cleaners business and a church are in the future. A funeral home is also likely to be built there. Blackwater Resources has the option on property starting at Gloria’s Hair Salon and up to and including the boarded-up house across from the Tutwiler Farm subdivision entrance on U.S. Highway 11 for the possible construction of a strip mall. Trussville Springs is making way for a new entrance, where eventually there will be shops, restaurants and offices.
Housing permit numbers ‘pick up’
Local real estate agent Lee Marlow said she believes the continued residential growth of Trussville is attracting commercial development.
“Even through a really tough market downturn, Trussville wasn’t hit quite as bad as some other areas, and actually continued to grow, mostly due to our strong school system,” Marlow said. “So the commercial side sees this and wants to be here.”
Two new elementary schools are being constructed in the city. Neighborhoods such as Glen Cross and Stockton are seeing continued growth.
“Retail stores and restaurants want to be where there are patterns of good growth, and Trussville has proven that to be true,” Marlow said. “It’s exciting to see new places opening. If we have all the places we want to shop and eat here locally, then we don’t leave Trussville to spend money. It’s a win-win.”
In 2005, Trussville issued 421 residential building permits for the construction of new homes, the most of any year since 1998. That number decreased to 361 in 2006, 197 in 2007, 89 in 2008, 85 in 2009, 66 in 2010 and 45 in 2011. In 2012, 125 were issued and 180 were issued last year. Through the first three months of 2014, the city has issued 48 residential building permits. If that trend continues, Trussville should issue close to 200 permits this year.
“It’s very encouraging to see the numbers pick up,” Melton said.
‘Steady, controlled growth’ is the goal
Melton said the Trussville City Schools system and new road connections — such as the future Valley Road extension to the Pinnacle at Tutwiler Farm shopping center and the Husky Parkway bridge over the Cahaba River — are playing a role in the “steady growth” of the city.
Melton said that Trussville is $150,000 ahead of where it was last year economically. With a $25 million budget, that’s “pretty small but it’s not negative,” Melton said. Last year, the city garnered $18.6 million in sales tax revenue. That number was $17.39 million in 2012 and $11.91 million in 2011, before an increased sales tax kicked in. Through the first six months of this fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, 2013 and runs through Sept. 30, the city has brought in $9.52 million.
Melton said he’d much rather see a “slow, controlled growth” so that the city can cover all its bases, to take advantage of all it can and have the right things in Trussville for the right reasons. The downturn in the economy a handful of years ago allowed Trussville to find and replace failing infrastructure in the city, something that will serve it well now as developers eye the city.
“I think Trussville has arrived,” Marlow said. “We have continued to steadily grow and change. New construction is evident in all pockets of Trussville. People from out of state who are relocating to Birmingham read online all the great news about Trussville and want to come here. We are a desirable area. People want to live in a community-driven area that values good education, hard work, family values, and these are all things we have here. The public sees this and wants to be a part of it.”
Contact Gary Lloyd at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.