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Annexation has worked for others

By Staff
City moves to buy additional 200-+ acres near interstate
By Connie Nowlin Managing editor
City property is growing again with the council's approval to purchase an additional 235-acre block of land near I-65.
It is likely that the purchase will also be annexed into the city limits, as is planned for the original 410-acre purchase.
Annexation may be accomplished in two ways if the land in question is not contiguous to the township. It may hold a referendum among the people that live in the area to be annexed, or it may pass a council act.
Both instances have worked well in other municipalities.
The city of Foley has annexed several areas in recent years, both with residents and vacant land.
"We usually annex contiguous land," said assistant city clerk Vickey Southern.
"But we have annexed empty land, like the soccer park land."
That soccer park was on 80 plus acres that the city purchased, annexed and developed.
"In this case (the soccer park) annexation was really beneficial," Southern said.
An area may ask to be annexed so that it is eligible for city services, such as fire protection, garbage pick up, or police jurisdiction. It may also want the city to take over the upkeep of its streets and drains.
However, when the area is populated, it is most often annexed by a vote of the residents.
"We give a lot of thought to our annexation," said Foley Mayor Tim Russell.
"We hold public hearings and take a straw vote. If we get overwhelming support, we proceed. If not, we don't pursue it."
Russell said that although the land the new park is built on was vacant, public support was great.
"Everyone was real supportive of the soccer land annexation," he said.
Some questioned why the city bought such a large piece of land, but Russell said in excess of 500 families use the park on a regular basis.
"We were looking to the future of Foley," he said.
So where does that leave Atmore, its land purchases and the annexation that is being pursued for those purchases?
"Corrections said they couldn't use it (the land) ," said Sen. Pat Lindsey, D- Pollard.
"And what the city has planned with it is good for Atmore."