Mayor Bowling proposes multi-use development to include sports complex, hotels, retail

DECATUR, Ala. - Mayor Tab Bowling campaigned on a need for growth in the River City and now proposes a way to make that happen.

"Soon after I took office, I was approached by an architectural firm on behalf of a local property owner," said the mayor. 

The idea is a two hundred to three hundred acre mixed use development on the north side of Highway 20 just west of the I-565/I-65 interchange.

Monday at a work session, he asked the city council to consider a feasibility study to see if it's the right fit for the city, but he's pretty confident it is.

"The travel sports industry has grown beyond a $9 billion industry and it's recession-proof," he explained. "Even when hard times come, mom and dad will still invest in little Johnny and Susie."

He says more than 30,000 cars pass the area, just north and south, daily. Mayor Bowling says it's naturally a premier location, and he wants to see it become a destination.

"You will be able to stay at a hotel there, you'll be able to shop, dine, everything you need, right there at the facility. But it's also open for shows, boat shows, RV shows, concerts."

With thousands of acres surrounding the property, he says it could be the first thing setting off a domino effect in that area, including potential residential property going up.

"There is plenty of opportunity down the corridor for mixed use," said Mayor Bowling.

The council will likely decide on funding the study at an upcoming meeting. Mayor Bowling says if the project moves forward, he would seek out a private investor to get involved with the multi-use facility.