Madison to buy old Three Springs site, Finley announces in State of City speech

Madison
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MADISON, Ala. - Some new businesses are coming to town, a brand new elementary school is going up and opening day for the new baseball team is less than three months away.

Madison Mayor Paul Finley had two more big announcements to share in his state of the city speech on Friday evening.

With a room full of well-dressed city, county and business leaders, Mayor Finley had a big announcement about Town Madison.

"A Marriott, with 200 rooms is also coming there, along with Outback and Panera Bread," Finley said.

The new businesses join J. Alexander's Restaurant, which announced they're soon moving in as well.

"I don't know that anybody had a smoother ride than we did," Ballcorps CEO Ralph Nelson said.

The most eagerly anticipated project in Madison in 2020 is opening day at Toyota Field, now less than three months away. Rocket City Trash Pandas owner Ralph Nelson says he couldn't have done it without a partner like Paul Finley.

"We butted heads a little bit during negotiations, but then after that, we've worked really well together. And they've been a great partner for us," Nelson said.

While home values remain high and crime rates fell in 2019, mayor Finley admits there are other challenges for Madison, including retaining the city's workforce.

"Just this week, we lost one and we may lose two more," Finley said. "Because they found other jobs that pay more."

Mayor Finley announced in the speech the city that will pay up, buying the troubled former Three Springs youth detention facility, which closed in August.

"We believed in what their mission was, but we didn't have the right location for that place," Finley said.

Mayor Finley says the property will be converted into a community center. Finley says it'll take around five years to convert the former Three Springs property into the new community center. So far, it's unclear how much the city will spend to build it.