SHEFFIELD, Ala. – Inspiration Landing has been in the works in Sheffield since 2006, then only an idea. It was believed the project was dead once the Great Recession hit but it sprung back to life in 2015.
In 2021, progress is visible with newly paved roads and sidewalks that will lead to future businesses and attractions, although, Sheffield Mayor Steve Stanley said the project has seen its share of setbacks.
“Construction started last year and we expected it to be finished much sooner than it is,” the mayor said. “Of course, we had a pandemic and also record rainfall this spring that caused some delays.”
Mayor Stanley said the excessive rainfall in early 2020 led to issues with inferior subsoil conditions on the roadbed.
During those delays, the mayor said construction loan interest charges accrued. To help cover those charges, this week, the city council approved a more than $400,000 cost overrun, but the mayor said that won’t impact taxpayers because of savings and interest from a USDA loan.
“We’re also in the process of refunding a 2013 bond issue that we can re-issue at a lower interest rate for substantial savings and we’re going to get some additional funds on that new bond issue and structure it the same way as the USDA loans,” the mayor said.
Mayor Stanley said had the city council known the condition of the soil prior to construction, they would have borrowed the appropriate amount for the loan from the start. He said although the project is costing more than the city expected, it’s not more than it can manage. He added the cost will not jeopardize the success of the project.