Judge rules for city in ‘friendly lawsuit’

The city of Alabaster can legally use public funds to build infrastructure for the new White Stone Shopping Center.

That was the decision handed down last Wednesday by Judge Mike Joiner of the 18th Judicial Circuit Court, according to Cam Ward, executive director for the Industrial Development Board of Alabaster.

Alabaster Council President Rick Walters recently explained that the shopping development will provide citizens with access to neighborhood shopping.

He also said the legal action sought by the city was &uot;a friendly lawsuit&uot; intended to get a judge to bless a bond agreement before the city

proceeds with the bond issue.

&uot;We’re real happy with it. This was a big win for us,&uot;

said Ward.

Alabaster Mayor David Frings added that the White Stone development will help the city recruit other business along the Highway 119 corridor. And while he said Judge Joiner indicated the legal action sought was new for him, Frings said such friendly lawsuits have been sought in other counties.

Frings also stressed that

the victory was not just for the city but &uot;all of the citizens.&uot;

Ward said the city &uot;asked Judge Joiner to rule that we could legally use public funds to build infrastructure totaling $2.189 million. This money will be used among other things to purchase right-of-ways, extend Kent Dairy Road, build an underground retention pond, turn lanes, certain grading projects and red lights.&uot;

He noted

that

Joiner said in his ruling that Alabaster was using funds in a legal manner when it agreed to make these improvements.

According to Ward, the shopping center is expected to bring in over $900,000 in sales tax revenue from restaurants, a large retail grocery store, and over 25 other shops.

He also said, &uot;The bond to pay off the infrastructure will cost the city $180,000 a year.&uot;

The White Stone Shopping Center will be located at Fulton Springs Road and Highway 119.

And Frings said, &uot;We’re looking forward to even bigger developments in the future.&uot;

Ward was recently elected state representaive for District 49, which includes the city of Alabaster