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City council annexes 7,000 acres

By By Adam Prestridge
The City of Atmore more than doubled in size Monday afternoon following a large land annexation passed by the city council.
According to mayor Howard Shell, the city received a petition in writing from Gov. Bob Riley and Richard F. Allen, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections on behalf of the State of Alabama, the owners of the property, requesting it be annexed. The letter was referring to the 7,000 acres off Hwy. 21 northwest of Interstate 65, which includes Holman Correctional Facility and Fountain Correctional Facility.
Shell said he believes the property has great potential of attracting industrial development from the growth in Mobile and the surrounding areas.
Developing the land will not be a decision made by Atmore officials though. Shell said the State of Alabama still owns the property and will determine if and when it will be developed.
Prior to the meeting, Atmore’s corporate limits extended 8.4 square miles, made up of 5,376 acres including the new Rivercane project. After the council’s unanimous decision to annex the large parcels of land, the limits jumped to 19.33 square miles over 12,376 acres.
With the expansion, the city’s population of 7,485 will also increase greatly with the addition of the inmates incarcerated at both prisons, which Shell said the U.S. Census Bureau will count towards Atmore population.
Shell said the city already has gas, water and sewer capabilities at the site, so the only immediate added expenses would police and fire protections along the roadways.
In other business, the council:
Shell was grateful for the award and commended city officials and volunteers for their hard work.