Shoals leaders and TVA begin new push to develop land along Tennessee River

The TVA property has been unused since the late 1980s

SHEFFIELD, Ala. - At a special announcement off of Wilson Dam Parkway, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the mayor of Sheffield and two county commissioners were dreaming big about what could be done with this 900-acre property along the Tennessee River.

"I remember, years ago, when I was first elected, Mayor Eddit Frost in Florence really, really wanted a AA minor league baseball team," Sheffield Mayor Ian Sanford recalled at Wednesday afternoon's announcement. "I agree, because that's a good family outing. You never know. (*Sanford then turns to representatives from the TVA*) You might want to check with some minor league teams."

The property, owned by the TVA, has been vacant since 1988, officials say.

Until now, most of the pressure has been on the TVA, the federally funded corporation tasked with shaping the region economically.

The TVA brought on-board CBRE, a marketing firm whose experts have put together a slick and colorful pitch to potential investors.

"As a former phosphate and nitrate production facility, the 900 acres of land are development ready with fully equipped utilities," the offering memorandum states. "Furthermore, with the current 7.2% unemployment rate, the labor force within the Quad Cities area (Muscle Shoals, Florence, Sheffield and Tuscumbia) is eager for work."

Part of the property is in Sheffield, and another part is in Muscle Shoals.

There are eleven parcels with specific purposes being offered.

Mayor Sanford is requesting wiggle room from the TVA on all aspects of the project, including zoning and the purpose of each parcel.

"I hope there is a little flexibility on it when somebody's interested," Mayor Sanford said, "because I have found that the person who holds the money usually calls the shots."


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