Opelika mayor delivers State of City Address

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - Store-fronts are filling up and houses are flying off the market.

These are two things city officials in Opelika taunted to a packed house Friday during the state of the city address at Southern Union Community College.

Mayor Gary Fuller made it clear there is a lot of good going on in Opelika, but at the same time he's not shy to say when projects haven't yet reached their full potential.

A positive from 2017  was the growth of retail downtown and the housing market booming.

"The number of good paying jobs and the amount of capital investment is not only for business and industry but the number of homes we've built this year," Mayor Fuller said.

In the last five years,  $821 million of capital investment has been made adding  1,432 new jobs with more on the way.

Houses are being sold as quick as they're being put up.

Sitting on the market for 68 days and selling at a price of $250,000 is the average for an Opelika home for sale.

"The community was just ready for that type of growth," says Opelika Chamber of Commerce President, Pam Powers-Smith.

However, the mayor says the city still hasn't cashed in on the $43 million investment made in Opelika Power Services.

Fulller said that is expected to happen in a few more years and the city has no regret in spending that money when it means kicking big business out and keeping local business close to home.

"You all are the ones we are trying to keep pleased. We aren't worried about Wall Street, we are worried about Main Street," Fuller said to the crowd.

Some projects that are coming this year is the new fire and police department which the mayor says is overdue for those departments.

The educational tax renewal vote was also a big ticket item today.

The vote for the tax will be on Feb. 13 and the money will go to Opelika City Schools. The tax was originally approved in 1965.

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