Longtime citizens of the area remember when highway 280 was a 2 lane road whose sole economic engines were a pink liquor store and Lloyd’s restaurant.  Many of us recall highway 150 when it was 2-lane, as well.  We have seen what happened when those roads expanded, and now Morgan road is poised to experience similar growth.

For those who’ve never been there, Morgan Road is a 2 lane Jefferson County road with a small fireworks stand and small gas station at the corner of South Shades Crest.  The intersection is awkward and prone to traffic jams during peak hours.

However, after many years in the works, Jefferson County is taking on the formidable project of widening Morgan Road from 459 all the way to the Shelby County line (click the map to see the plan.)

It’s a big project.  And when something is talked about that long without happening, many people subconsciously determine it never will.  Then boom…it starts:

Looking south toward Helena

Looking north towards 459/Bessemer

This doesn’t look like much, but it’s a definite contrast from just a few short months ago.  The big deal is this:  If economic development is a hockey puck, then all the Wayne Gretzkys of economic development are going to head to this area.

OK, scratch that….   Picture Joe Namath or Bo Jackson eyeing this particular stretch of dirt.  The point is, big things are going to happen here.  And there are three big reasons that these big things are important to Hoover:

  • There will be significant economic opportunity for the city.  With a commercial corridor, there will be corresponding revenue opportunities.  I think we should be ready to capitalize.
  • There will be significant traffic implications for the city.  With South Shades Crest being a critical path for so many Hoover citizens, we need to find a way to prevent traffic from becoming more of an issue than it already is.
  • There are some rather large areas of land that are within Hoover city limits that will suddenly be accessible via a 5 lane superhighway.  This will lead to some sort of development interest.  We need to be ready for this and plan ahead.

The bottom line is that we can either react to these concerns or be proactive.  I think we should immediately begin on a plan for this area and start working on how it can be good for Hoover, our people, and for the overall metro area, as well.

We already got a taste of what’s coming with the Publix zoning/annexation and economic incentive package approved last year.  For years, companies have been anticipating the growth in the area, and Publix wanted to be the first here on the corner of Shades Crest and the newly expanded Highway.  However, the infrastructure challenges were prohibitively expensive,  and there was a risk of losing the development.  The city partnered with them, and I’m proud to have supported that effort.

This commercial area will result in great services for the people in the area, significant revenue for Hoover, and will include some much needed right-of-way improvements on South Shades Crest as part of the deal:

But there is much, much more to consider.  If re-elected I look forward to being a forward-thinking, proactive member of the Council ready to make this area a positive development for generations of people to come.