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Financing approved for I-65 land

By By Robbie Byrd, News Editor
purchase DOC land
The City of Atmore approved financing of $3.1 million it plans to use to buy and develop 420 acres of land near I-65 for an industrial park.
First National Bank of Atmore was the low bidder among four other area banks with a rate of 3.15 percent for a three-year period.
City Resolution 2002-12, passed at the meeting, accepted the low bid from FNB and initiated the "next step" in purchasing the land from the Alabama Department of Corrections.
"We feel strongly about aiding the city of Atmore in their efforts," said Dale Hurst, Senior Vice President and Cashier. "We're willing to do anything to help the city and its plans and we hope that they're successful. It will benefit all of us if they can create jobs."
The resolution also authorized Atmore Mayor Howard Shell "to act as the city's agent in all transactions in the purchase of said properties and the development of a master plan."
Shell said in an interview last week he is working with state planning officials as well as an outside engineering firm to develop a "master plan" for the former DOC land.
The resolution was approved by a unanimous vote.
The city was also presented with three other rates from area lending institutions, all with three-year terms: United Bank, 3.78 percent; Southtrust, 3.77 percent; and Regions, 3.70 percent.
The city also authorized the purchase of two certificates of deposits (CDs), both with terms of two years at a return rate of 3.91 percent, with a total price of nearly $2.3 million. The city did not release information on rates offered from other institutions.
Hurst said that the CDs were a separate transaction from the loan.
According to the resolutions, the city requested both CD proposals and loan proposals from several local institutions.
According to Shell, the purchase and transfer of the property is underway as "expeditiously as possible."
The city also heard an update from Tony Frasier, state veterinarian, on the West Nile Virus and its effect on Escambia County.
Frasier said residents have less to fear about the West Nile virus than they do other more established viruses.
"It's become good media fodder because it sounds so exotic," Frasier said.
However, Frasier said more focus should be placed on public education and awareness rather than traditional spraying and mosquito containment efforts.
Frasier presented the council with information his department had collected on mosquito awareness, but copies were unavailable for the media at press time.
Shell invited Frasier, along with members of the media, for a special meeting to discuss what is being done in the city and to listen to suggestions from Frasier.
In other business, the council also denied a business license for a local woman.
Gleandine Craft was denied her request for a business license at 187 Carver Ave.
Craft said she wanted to open a "game room" type facility at the location.
However the request sparked comments from Councilman John Watkins, who said he lived only a few 100 yards from the proposed site.
"In the past we've had problems at that location," Watkins said.
Craft said she planned to institute many rules at the site, including no loitering, gambling, drug use or loud noise.
City officials said in the past police presence at the location has been tremendous, with Atmore Police Chief Bruce Lovette saying that when the previous business was there officers were at the scene nearly "every night."
Craft submitted plans to have the facility open until 10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on weekends.
Watkins said that at 10 p.m., young people should be more worried about "their homework and bedtime" than entertainment.
"We should be more aroused about education for young people instead of their entertainment," he said. "Morals are just more important than politics in this case."
Watkins suggested that a more educational and fulfilling use for the facility be looked into.
The request was denied with a unanimous vote.
In other council business: