LITTLEVILLE — The excitement in Mayor Kenneth Copeland’s voice told the story Thursday.
He was discussing the awarding of a grant that will help the town’s first full-line grocery store to open. It’s a project Copeland and other city officials have been working on for months.
“This grant is going to make it possible,” Copeland said.
State Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, announced Thursday that Littleville is receiving a $200,000 economic development grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.
Copeland said the town also will put in $63,000 on the project, which includes improving access from U.S. 43 into the business.
The mayor said Big Star Super Market will open in a 10,000-square foot building near Town Hall. The building is owned by the town.
Copeland said the town will lease the building, which once housed the town’s water authority, to Big Star owners for 12 years.
“We are creating 21 new jobs and improving the tax base for the town,” Bedford said, adding the grant money will be used for highway access improvements.
Copeland said he worked closely with Bedford and officials with the Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments in securing the money.
“This would not have been possible without their help,” Copeland said.
NACOLG Director Keith Jones said there already is an access road to the building, but the grant will help widen the entrance to the parking lot to three. The project also involves a southbound turning lane on U.S. 43 that will improve access to the grocery. Jones said work also will be done to improve the median crossover between the northbound and southbound lanes on U.S. 43.
“They should start work on the project within 90 days,” Jones said.
“This is money well invested in the infrastructure of Littleville,” Bedford said. “It’s something that is exciting and positive for the town.”
He said Littleville’s sales tax base has been damaged in recent years with surrounding municipalities legalizing liquor sales.
“Having a new business, with the potential in sales of a grocery store, is something that can improve and stabilize the town’s tax base,” Bedford said.
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.