Fork in the road

Published 8:00 am Monday, December 22, 2008

By By Mary Claire Foster
With approximately 100 new employees being hired every week since Dec. 1, the Wind Creek Casino and Hotel is bringing in hundreds of potential new residents to Atmore.
However, several factors are influencing whether they come or go.
Crystal Daughtry, executive administrative assistant for Poarch Creek Indians Gaming human resources, said many of the people they have hired so far are commuters.
Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sheryl Vickery said she spoke with several potential employees at a job fair held at the YMCA building earlier this month where her office is located.
However, Realtors Lisa Reynolds with Atmore Realty and Debbie Rowell with Southern Real Estate said they have both experienced an increased interest in people relocating to Atmore because of employment with the casino.
Rowell said many are coming in looking to rent or lease properties, something both she and Reynolds said there is not a large market of in Atmore, particularly newer, updated options.
Reynolds said the lack of available rental properties was contributing to a housing crisis in Atmore.
Rowell said she knows of one multi-rental property that is slated to begin construction in January and projected to be finished in March or April.
Rowell added that the lack of rental properties could possibly be positive.
President and CEO of Creek Indian Enterprises Tim Martin said he does not expect an immediate increase in relocation by new employees because of the unfamiliarity with the gaming industry.
Reynolds said she also believes people new to the area would be apprehensive to buy immediately.
Rowell agreed that many who are newly hired want to weigh their options before buying.
One exception to this is people in upper management positions, which both Reynolds and Rowell said have been the first to contact them in the past year looking to buy.
Martin said when PCI was seeking out employees for higher level positions the decision of whether they would be permanently relocating to Atmore was important.
Those interested in relocating to Atmore can request information from the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce by calling 368-3305.

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