City leaders addressed the Scottsboro City Council Monday evening regarding potential development on Goose Pond Island.
Goose Pond General Manager Lyle Sosebee led the presentation with background information on the project. He said on November 2016, Mayor Robin Shelton came to him and asked what the city could do to spur development on Goose Pond Colony. Sosebee said the goal was to maximize Goose Pond’s opportunities to the public.
Sosebee said they reviewed past attempts to progress, and the met with developers. ONE thing they needed was to make Goose Pond an entertainment district, which the city council did last year. He said the feedback from developers was that they were thinking “way too small.” The developers suggested the city consider connectivity to South Goose Pond Island.
Sosebee said he found a plan written by Edward D. Stone in 1989 that outlined some residential development for the island. After some contact, representatives from Edward D. Stone and Associates had plans to visit Scottsboro, but the COVID-19 pandemic postponed their visit. Sosebee said they are trying to work out another visit.
He said they began to work on request for proposals to present to developers that would tie the two properties together and spur growth at Goose Pond. Sosebee said the overall goal was to see a new phase of development at Colony for public use and develop a multi-use plan for Goose Pond Island. He said it would need to be a well thought out project to achieve the greatest financial benefit.
The city retained Worley and Associates to consult on the project. They recommended the city do this project in phases. Sosebee said that led to multiple contacts and meetings with major developers that specialize in resort development.
At a tourism conference in February, Shelton and Sosebee set up a meeting with a developer who has been very successful in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Shelton said he has since undergone some health issues and has put business on hold.
The city bought the property on South Goose Pond Island in a bankruptcy sale years ago. Shelton said the city sold about 1,000 acres to James Christopher, a residential developer.
The city kept about 650 acres. Former Mayor Melton Potter had an appraisal done in 2015 which said 532 of the 650 acres was developable property. Shelton said there is about one mile of shoreline for residential development, and the rest could be used for public recreation or green space.
The city recently gained access to the property through a 60 foot right of way, and it will be used to give access to timber cutters next month. Developers have said that if the city could get something started, they would get a wave of movement over there.
Shelton said the city has been asking for money to a bridge to connect the two properties. He said it comes down to having industry or substantial growth to receive federal highway funds.
He said the property on South Goose Pond Island would be a mixed use between residential and possibly a hotel.
“We’re trying to position ourselves for growth that is happening in Huntsville and North Alabama right now,” said Shelton.
He said they have been working on this project for a while, but it really went to the next level last year. He said there had been a great deal of thought and discussion up to this point.