Pelham Business Council focuses on progress and growth

Pelham Mayor Gary Waters addressed city business owners during an April 22 Business Council Meeting at the Pelham Civic Complex. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

Pelham Mayor Gary Waters addressed city business owners during an April 22 Business Council Meeting at the Pelham Civic Complex. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—Pelham’s economic future looks bright, according to an April 22 meeting of the Pelham Business Council, which discussed several recent developments that city officials said should improve the city’s economic climate.

One important development was the City Council’s April 7 approval of a five-member Commercial Development Authority to replace the previous Industrial Development Board.

“Many cities have been successful in using a CDA,” councilman Ron Scott said. “It gives more leeway, and is more targeted to what we want to do in the city.”

The CDA will focus on determining Pelham’s retail gaps, and then work to target and recruit developers and businesses to fill those gaps.

Scott said they will also “begin to slowly address the issue of retail locations that maybe do not look the best” as well as enhance retail along U.S. 31.

Although the CDA will look to bring new business to Pelham, Scott said they will not forget about current business owners.

“This board serves for revitalization and retention,” Scott said.

In addition to the CDA, Pelham will have a new, 183-unit luxury apartment complex on Huntley Parkway, as well as its own school system, both of which will city officials said will serve to attract businesses to Pelham.

“(The apartments) will give us an additional concentration of rooftops,” councilwoman Karyl Rice said, something that prospective business owners and developers are always looking for.

The apartment developers have also “committed to using local suppliers” in the new complex, City Council President Rick Hayes said.

The new Pelham City School System, targeted for separation from the Shelby County School System on July 1, should also work to improve the economy.

“We lose people each week because of the (current) school system. It’s not what it needs to be,” local real estate developer, Bob Sinclair, said. “I anticipate an additional 50 sales per year because of the new school system.”

Along with attracting new residents, Pelham City School System interim superintendent Dr. Tim Alford noted that a better school system is key for economic development by producing a more prepared workforce.

“(We will) take our main retail corridor and begin moving it forward,” said Hayes.