At the most recent Fort Payne City Council meeting a memorandum of understanding with Marathon Realty was abandoned due to a technicality however efforts to attract a Food City grocery store to Fort Payne will continue.
The Fort Payne City Council had voted three-to-two back in February to approve the original memorandum. Council members John Smith and Johnny Eberhart continue to oppose the project as both voted against dismissing that document and starting over. Amendment 772 enables municipalities to offer economic incentives to recruit businesses, but it does provide strict guidelines. City officials insist that the project is in the best interest of Fort Payne’s citizens – however, competitors of the proposed store disagree.
The vote in February to approve the original memorandum followed a tense gathering with numerous citizens addressing the council to express strong opposition to the incentives. That standing-room only crowd included supporters of two existing businesses, Bruce’s Foodland and Twin City Auto Sales. Foodland would be Food City’s direct competitor; meanwhile the property owner has told Twin City it will need to re-locate once construction is ready to get underway.
Those speaking against the incentives agreed the city should not spend that much tax money on a private development for an out-of-state retailer that may divert revenue from long-time local business owners.
The debate continues and we’ll continue to follow this story as it develops.
(Fort Payne Times-Journal)