Muscle Shoals – A small crowd came to express opinions on a proposed land use plan for the TVA Muscle Shoals Reservation. The as yet undetermined plan is to be implemented within the next five to ten years. The nation’s largest public utility has determined to relinquish most all of its property to local control because its mandate has changed from when TVA was formed in 1933.
There are three scenarios up for consideration:
- Single User Development. Under this idea, all or most of the site would be developed by one large scale user.
- Internal Development. This scenario involves developing only land which has already been in use. This includes both industrial and office sites. The surrounding natural and historic areas would be preserved.
- Multi-use Development. This option would divide the site up into numerous parcels for development, such as retail areas, professional developments and housing subdivisions.
TVA representative, Tony Hopson told the attendees that whatever is done with the nearly 1,400 acre site will be after a thorough study, based on what Shoals citizens and government officials determine is the highest and best use. He also made it clear that whatever plan is finally arrived upon, it will not include those areas of the reservation that are forested or hold significant historical value.
Government and citizens groups have been working for several years already with TVA on this development plan. The North Alabama Cooperative District, formed during the previous city and county administrations, is the Shoals’ side of the equation. Former Sheffield Mayor, Billy Don Anderson was instrumental in getting the ball rolling, when he determined that his city would benefit from TVA property that runs alongside Hatch Boulevard. While that plan has stalled now that he is no longer at the reins of Sheffield, the process continues on a more general path to opening up the reservation for future use.
Muscle Shoals Mayor David Bradford told the Quad Cities Daily, that he favors the third scenario. He said that the land along Second Street was nicely suited for educational, professional, and institutional development. He indicated that the interior portion of the site, under Scenario Three could be a site for a satellite college campus. Mr. Bradford did not favor industrial development on the parcel. When asked if the site would compete with the Research Air Park in Muscle Shoals, he said that if developed along the lines of his thinking, it would not. To further amplify his point, Mr. Bradford said that the central part of the reservation is only about 300 acres, while the Research Air Park is 500 acres.
Table discussions constituted the final portion of the meeting. Residents sat with Planners and discussed the many aspects of such a plan, from environmental concerns to potential classes of developers. Surveys were given to the participants at the end of the evening to codify their input. Planners will be taking these surveys, along with the ones from Monday’s session in Florence, and using them to help formulate the Master Plan.
Mr. Hopson said that this study was only a part of the process. The final land use plan will not be completed for several more years.