DECATUR, Ala (WHNT) — By a vote of four to one, the Decatur City Council voted to move forward with a proposed development along the Tennessee River, during its council meeting on Monday.
The City will enter into a lease agreement with real estate developer, Patrick Lawler, for the land where Ingalls Harbor currently sits. Lawler, who built City Harbor in Guntersville, will foot the bill for the development.
Mayor Tab Bowling first told News 19 about the possibility of the development last month.
In an interview with News 19, he estimated the project will cost upwards of $30 million dollars.
The development will bring shops, restaurants and entertainment to the riverfront.
“It’s really more of an entertainment district than a development,” Lawler said.
The project is still many months from breaking ground, but Lawler said restaurants are already on board.
“We’re about 70% leased already,” he said.
Lawler said many of the same eateries that are already part of Guntersville’s City Harbor will be part of the Ingalls Harbor development.
“Big Mike’s Steakhouse is one of them, The Wake Eatery by Big Mike’s will be there, we’re doing a pizza concept, Levi’s on the Lake that’s in Guntersville will be there also,” he said.
While the project will move forward, not everyone at Monday’s meeting was fully on board.
Councilman Billy Jackson shared concerns about the speed at which the development has progressed.
Jackson also cited potential future issues with the expansion of the Decatur Utilities Water Treatment Plant, which sits right next to Ingalls Harbor.
“Can we definitively say that we won’t need this property in the future?” he asked.
Other members of the council said they don’t foresee that being an issue.
A long-time Decatur resident, Pat Underwood also spoke during the public comment section of the meeting.
Underwood brought up potential environmental concerns.
“How will this development, how will the tenants in this development prevent escaped trash from entering directly into the Tennessee River?” he said.
News 19 asked Lawler what he had to say about that concern.
“I’d encourage them to come visit City Harbor over in Guntersville and they’ll see that that’s not going to be a concern,” he said.
Before the development at Ingalls Harbor can move forward, it still needs to get approvals by the Tennessee Valley Authority.
“TVA typically takes 12 months, and in a perfect world we’ll accomplish that then and break ground within 12 months,” Lawler said.