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Falkville feeling the love for development

By Staff
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
The town of Falkville celebrated a red-letter day on Tuesday as ground was broken for a new Love's Travel Stop at Highway 55 and I-65.
Mayor Jimmie Walker and City Council members Matt Stiles, Bonnie Thompson, David Edmondson and Anita Fowler were joined by Bill Gleason, Love's real estate project manager, for the 10 a.m. event. Looking on as the group spaded dirt from the construction site were about 50 other local officials and townspeople. They included State Representative Ronald Grantland, D-Hartselle and Morgan County Commission Chairman John Glasscock.
Gleason said construction will begin Oct. 1 and is scheduled to be completed by April 1, 2008. The new business will feature a McDonald's and Subway and employ about 80 people. A $6 million investment is planned.
"I feel Falkville will be a great location for us," Gleason said. "Love's likes to work with small towns like Falkville because it can make a big impact on the local economy and benefit the community in many ways. About 99 percent of the tax revenue we will be able to generate for the town will come from business off the interstate."
Gleason thanked Walker, the city council and other local officials for their support during a year-long planning process leading up to the construction start.
"The cooperation I've received has been fantastic," Gleason said, "and I look forward to coming back next spring when the project is complete and joining you for breakfast."
"It seems like an eternity since a stranger (Gleason) walked into my office and asked me what I thought about Love's bringing a new business to town," Walker said. "When he told me who Love's was and explained what they could do for Falkville, I was sold on the idea. Since then we have enjoyed a good working relationship."
"The council and many others have been very helpful in getting this project off the ground and I owe them a debt of gratitude."
Afterwards, Walker said he anticipates that the additional tax revenue generated by Love's will be used to upgrade the town's infrastructure, help the schools and upgrade services.
"It's going to change our community in a positive way," Councilman Matt Stiles said. "Having a Love's will increase our revenue and entice other businesses to locate here. Everybody will benefit. This is a very exciting time to be involved in city government."
Retired teacher Rhona Summerford said, "We think it's going to be a wonderful asset to our community, and we're thankful they're here."
Gleason said he identified Falkville as a potential Love's location last fall while looking at several other potential locations on I-65. He added the company plans to open 15 to 20 new businesses in the U.S. in 2008. The Falkville location will be the third in Alabama. A new Love's will open on I-65 at Clanton Thursday (today).
The new Love's will front on Highway 55 and Douglas Road and will have access both from Highway 55 and Douglas Road. Douglas Road will be upgraded to a three-lane roadway to provide easy access for truck traffic. This project will be financed by the city.
Love's Travel Stops feature competitive fuel prices, large, clean restrooms and showers, quality restaurant choices, ample parking, CAT scales, game rooms, gifts and clothing, phone, fax and copy service, electronics and truck supplies and coast-to-coast fleet fueling and ATMs at most locations.