CDA identifies Pelham’s assets

The Pelham CDA met with Lesa Osborne, director of the Gadsden CDA, during the board's Aug. 7 inaugural meeting. (File)

The Pelham CDA met with Lesa Osborne, director of the Gadsden CDA, during the board’s Aug. 7 inaugural meeting. (File)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—Pelham’s Commercial Development Authority identified the city’s assets and opportunities and began to formulate next steps for the new board during its Aug. 7 inaugural meeting.

Gadsden Commercial Development Authority Director Lesa Osborn met with Pelham’s new CDA to discuss board operations, such as actively pursuing retailers and working closely with the city to achieve economic development goals.

“We actively pursue retailers for Gadsden… you have to make inroads with developers and with groups and get them to hear you,” Osborn said. “We work very closely with the city.”

Osborn also stressed the importance of identifying and highlighting the city’s assets for developers and a master plan for the future.

“Quality of life is huge,” Osborn said, noting the Gadsden CDA highlights the city’s river, natural features, golf course, museums and schools.

Osborne noted Pelham has many features attractive to developers as well, underscoring the city’s attractions, such as Oak Mountain State Park and Oak Mountain Amphitheater, and Pelham’s high median income.

“You’ve got the income,” Osborn said. “Your median income is great.”

Pelham City Council President Rick Hayes also noted the city’s “world class” Pelham Racquet Club and Ballantrae golf course.

“Our assets are just incomparable to anybody else’s, especially for our size,” Hayes said during an Aug. 8 phone interview, adding the city is also “extremely well located.”

The first step for the new CDA will be to define their role, then they will be able to start creating a master plan for economic development across the city, Hayes explained.

“They have that ‘kid in the candy store’ opportunity,” Hayes said, noting Pelham’s many areas of commercial opportunity, including property along Highways 261, 11, 52 and 119, and the U.S. 31 corridor. “There are phenomenal opportunities for growth,” he said.

Pelham’s five-member CDA, consisting of Dr. Tim Alford, Tracey Morant Adams, Clay Alford, Thomas Martin and Lenny Glenn, brings a wide range of business experience to the table.

Dr. Tim Alford has served as the interim superintendent of Pelham City Schools, chairman of the Alabama State Workforce Investment Board, and is the former mayor of Enterprise, Ala. Adams worked as the director of Birmingham’s Office of Economic Development, Glenn currently works with AT&T and has served on numerous Pelham boards, Clay Alford served as the vice president of operations at Moore-Handley and Martin is the general manager of the Riverchase Galleria.

“I think this group brings to the table a great deal of insight as we move forward,” City Councilman Ron Scott said during the Aug. 7 meeting.

The CDA plans to hold its second meeting at Pelham City Hall on Aug. 28.