Food trucks vendors hoping to bring economic boost to Phenix City

Food trucks vendors hoping to bring economic boost to Phenix City

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - Phenix City's officials have found a creative way to draw more people to their side of the Chattahoochee River with their new food truck park.

This park offers new eateries and should increase revenue for the city.

The purpose of the food truck park is to help grow the downtown area, and city officials say they hope to make Phenix City a new destination for people to visit.

Some say the city is lacking good restaurants, but they hope to turn that around with their new food truck court.

"It's just a great idea. We researched it in a lot of other cities where it has been enormously successful. If you just look at what's happening today and we're not even fully set up yet," said Stephen Smith, Phenix City Finance Director.

The Phenix City Downtown Redevelopment Authority approved a lease agreement with the WC Bradley Company for a portion of space directly adjacent to the 14th Street Pedestrian Bridge and Plaza, opposite the new Courtyard Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.

The food trucks will serve the downtown area, and city officials say they're hoping this will bring more traffic into town.

According to Smith, this new project is not going to put the city in the hole financially.

"Our actually out-of-pocket cost will be less than $5,000 to set this up. Mainly we're buying some furniture that we are going to be setting up on the plaza up here," added Smith. "We're not doing it to make money per se from the vendors but we'll get sales tax from their sales. We're hoping like any other business that they will do other things. Get to see our marvelous hotel we got down here and see all the opportunities there is on the Riverfront."

"I believe it's going to bring a lot more revenue to Phenix City and maybe some more tourism and stuff. Columbus has a lot so it's time for Phenix City to grow," said Enrique Camacho with Paradise by the River.

Right across the river in Muscogee County, Uptown Columbus President Richard Bishop says there was chatter of food trucks in Columbus but no definite plans.

"The city has been in the process of developing a strategy or plan to implement that over time. I don't sense a degree of urgency right now," said Bishop.

Columbus uses food trucks for special events and festivals, and Bishop does hope to make it a permanent everyday thing.

"I'm a big fan of food trucks. Just have to be thoughtful on where they are located," Bishop said.

In a few days, the vendors in Phenix City have seen a large amount of customers exploring new food options.

"It's working, we're making money," Camacho said.

To keep coming back, vendors must pay $100 a month for their permit fees at the food truck court.

Stephen Smith says there are currently five vendors that have booked to be in the park, with several others contacting economic development expressing interest.

There will be a grand opening of the food truck park on June 12 at 5:30 p.m. The food trucks will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch and 5 p.m. until for dinner. A website has been set up for all the latest information on the food truck park in Phenix City.

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