Tribal lands

Published 6:46 pm Wednesday, May 12, 2004

By By Arthur McLean Editor
After the Poarch Creek Indian tribe purchased more than 2,000 acres in the Sardine area, the tribe is pursuing other properties near the Interstate north of Atmore.
The Atmore Advance has confirmed that the tribe is in negotiations to purchase several properties and at least one business along S.R. 21 near I-65.
Through various sources, the Advance has confirmed that the tribe is either close to completing or has already completed a deal for Terry's Texaco. The convenience store and gas station is located on S.R. 21 in front of the entrance to the Poarch Bingo Palace.
When contacted for the story this week, Chris Terry, who operates the store with his father Joe, declined to comment on deal, saying it was "personal business."
The tribe is also seeking to purchase several other properties in the immediate area, the Advance has learned.
Tribal Chairman Eddie Tullis has not returned calls seeking comment.
This is not the first time the tribe has looked to expand its land holdings. It made an offer on Department of Corrections property that was later sold to the City of Atmore.
The city recently approved several million dollars in general obligation bonds to pay for the land located at the intersection of I-65 and S.R. 21.
The city's stated plans for the property are to turn it into a commercial/industrial park for attracting industry to the area.
Currently, the city is working on wetlands mitigation plans with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and ADEM. After the wetlands issue is resolved, the city has stated plans to move forward with installing access roads to the site. The city has already begun marketing portions of the site to some employers.
Mayor Howard Shell said the city is also working closely with the tribe and keeping its interests for development of tribal property in mind as the city begins to develop its own property.
Terry has publicly criticized Shell and the Atmore City Council after the council voted to annex the industrial park property and nearby businesses into the city.
The move force Terry and some other business owners, who were once outside the city limits to apply for city business licenses and collect city taxes.

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