Eutaw man opposes new Dollar General

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

A proposal for a new Dollar General location received opposition at Tuesday’s Eutaw City Council meeting.

Eutaw resident Charles Solomon brought a proposition before the council to construct a new Dollar General store at the site of the old jail. But access to land owned by Phil Banks prompted opposition.

Part of the plan to construct the new store, Solomon said, would include asking the city to vacate an unused alley, which is 30 feet wide and 500 feet long, near the jail. The alley, Solomon said, would be used for extra parking.

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Construction of a new store, Solomon said, would kill two birds with one stone. It would bring down the old jail and give the city a business it could be proud of.

“I think it would be a great improvement to the city of Eutaw to get the old jail dismantled and removed,” Solomon said. “It can’t do anything but enhance business for our town, which we truly, truly need.”

If the store was constructed, Banks said, it would isolate his land and make it worthless.

“We have 5.3 acres of land and that alley is the only public access,” Banks said. “There is no other public access to it. It has been open all my life and it was used before 1954. If we can’t get to the lot, it is worth nothing.”

For years, the Banks family operated a planing mill on the property, but the mill shut down several years ago. Solomon said since that time the alley has not been used for public access and it would be a waste to let it sit there.

“I can’t see the purpose of just leaving this there for another 60 years unused when I can put it to good use,” Solomon said. “The only thing I can see is that it would help the city of Eutaw and they would still have access.”

There were no plans to put a building in the alley, Solomon said, just concrete for parking.

Councilman Lewis Bostick said the council would look at the problem and try to find a solution suitable to both parties.

“We don’t want to stop any progress in this town,” Bostick said. “But, the idea of closing the alley has to be done in a receptive manner. We want to help, but we don’t want to create a problem.”

Eutaw Mayor Raymond Steele agreed.

“We don’t want to stop progress or any time of meaningful addition,” Steele said. “That is something that we badly need and it would be an improvement to have a new store there instead of the old jail. I also understand Mr. Banks’ argument.”

Steele also recommended an alternate route. Earlier in the council meeting, Solomon suggested deeding property beside Church’s Chicken to the city as an alternate route to the Banks property. Steele suggested the two settle on this route.

In the end, the two agreed to sit down and examine the alternate route.