City Council talks new sports complex, residential development and Buc-ee’s

The Outlet Shops of Grand River.

A new sports complex for Leeds moved a step closer Monday night.

The Leeds City Council approved a memorandum of understanding with CORE Construction of Tallahassee, Fla., to further explore a joint public/private venture to construct the complex. CORE, founded in 1937, has experience building many types of projects, including schools, hospitals and municipal projects like libraries and fire stations, according to its website.

              Leeds Mayor David Miller said that as a first step, CORE will recommend the best mix of fields and amenities that would be appropriate for the complex. The complex would be built on 275 acres north of the Cahaba River on land near the Shops of Grand River.

The sports complex property is part of a larger deal between the city and US Steel. The city purchased 100 acres from US Steel west of the outlet mall for retail development, according to Miller. US Steel offered up 275 acres for the sports complex for $100 in exchange for the city’s agreeing to build a bridge across the Cahaba at Grand River Parkway. In addition to giving the public access to the sports complex, the bridge would open up 2,000 to 3,000 acres for residential development on US Steel property.

In addition, the city annexed 700 acres of US Steel property on Rex Lake Road for what Miller described as a “Ross Bridge-type subdivision” of homes ranging in price from $250,000 to $400,000. The first phase of 97 homes is being planned now, he said.

In response to a question from the gallery, Miller said that Buc-ee’s is still coming to Leeds, although it may be delayed because the construction company is building a second store in Orange Beach. “The project is on track, it may just be pushed back a little,” Miller said. “They have bought and paid for the property (in Leeds).”

Miller encouraged council members to “drive their district” and identify paving and drainage issues. The city engineer will evaluate the projects and “determine which are the most needed.”

“Then we’ll do them as we can until the money runs out,” he said.

Public Safety Consultant Jim Atkinson praised two officers for “going above the call of duty” recently. Atkinson said that three kayakers were lost on the river at night, a situation made more dire because one of the kayakers has diabetes. Because officer Adam Ledbetter knew his way around the area, he and dispatcher Rhonda Bullion were able to get the kayakers off the river and into the fire station.

School Resource Officer Lt. Wilbert Griffin was photographed giving high fives and fist bumps to every student who passed by him as he directed traffic on the first day of school. Griffin wasn’t aware he was being photographed, so his actions were genuine, according to Atkinson.

The city council gave the street department permission to clean up six lots and place a lien on the properties to reimburse the city. The lots are located at 8937 Clayton Dr., 7627 Henry Ellen Road, 8520 Rockhampton St., 545 Whittaker Place, 7400 Frisco Ave. and 1921 Lane Dr.

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