Area officials pleased with construction pace

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Community officials said construction activity is maintaining ahealthy pace with a variety of projects under way or recentlycompleted in Brookhaven and Lincoln County.

“We’ve got a tremendous amount of construction going on,” saidChandler Russ, Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerceexecutive vice-president.

Russ and Brookhaven Building Inspector Steve Moreton mentionedseveral commercial projects in the city. Among them were a newinsurance office for agent Bobby Britt, a new building for realestate agent Betsy Smith and an O’Reilly Auto Parts on Highway51.

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“They’re hanging sheet rock and working on the parking area,”Moreton said about the auto parts business, which is expected tohave a used automobile lot across the street from it.

Other activity Moreton mentioned was the recent openings ofHal’s Ice Cream Shop, Quiznos and Wizard Electronics on BrookwayBoulevard. Next door to the electronics business, a sign forBrookway Auto Brokers’ new location was being installed lastweek.

Among church activities, Moreton cited plans for a skating rinkat Cornerstone Church on North First Street and a recent additionat Bethel A.M.E. Church, also on First Street.

“They added three classrooms, an office and a covered area,”Moreton said.

Construction in the downtown area has included renovations for aBoerner Law Firm office on Railroad Avenue, an office addition forInsurance and Risk Managers on South Jackson Street and a newEngravables location in the old Castles on Cherokee Street.

“They completely gutted the building,” said Moreton, citingowners Rayland and Connie Hooper’s work on the floors, walls, backof the building and electrical improvements.

Moreton said he has had some preliminary inquiries about otherpossible development in the city. He was able to mention thatHibbett Sports was considering a site on Brookway Boulevard.

Although not involved in the developments, Moreton mentioned anew B&O Machine and Welding location and a new conveniencestore on Highway 51 and the new Riverwood Funeral Services onHighway 51 south.

“That’s outside the city, so we don’t have a lot to do with thatreally,” Moreton said. “We’ve got a lot of action there.”

Also outside the city, Moreton alluded to new housingdevelopment in the Tanglewood area and on Virginia Avenue.Inside-the-city activity also is going strong.

“Mainly, what we’re going to have is houses,” Moreton said aboutconstruction projects. “We’ve got houses everywhere.”

Despite a large number of homes for sale, Moreton mentionedissuing building permits for eight new houses under construction.He said those include three in the Fisher Park development onHalbert Heights Road, two homes each on Mississippi Street andPritchard Street and another on Lark Spur Lane.

Russ attributed the positive housing trends to quality of lifeissues such as good schools. He said the chamber has seen increasesin the number of retirees recruited through its efforts as well asfamilies bringing recently-retired relatives to the city to benearby.

“First and foremost, Brookhaven and Lincoln County is awonderful place to live and raise a family,” Russ said. “I thinkyou’re seeing more and more people moving here because of thequality of life.”