Pelham eyes ‘smart growth’


Eye on Shelby County

The City of Pelham was founded in 1964. It’s home to a little more than 23,000 people. Pelham self identifies as one of the fastest growing communities in Shelby County.

Realtors call it a hot housing market. According to online real estate marketplace Zillow, the median home value in Pelham, AL is $190,300. Zillow estimates home values in Pelham have increased by 3.8% over the last year. In fact, Zillow calls Pelham a “very hot” sellers’ market.

Pelham Mayor Gary Waters wants smart growth in the city.

“Not explosive growth, very controlled growth. We are challenged when it comes to our road infrastructure so we have to be smart about how we develop Pelham internally. We haven’t drawn the corporate boundaries of Pelham in a long, long time. So that’s part of our smart grown we are building in, not building out,” said Waters.

Pelham hired it’s first ever City Manager, Gretchen DiFante, nearly two years ago. Since that time they’ve created a comprehensive plan based on feedback from Pelham residents. “People in this community want gathering places. They want us to create a sense of place here,” said DiFante.

Pelham has a number of small to medium sizes businesses. Myers Plants and Pottery owner Stewart Myers business has been in Pelham for 48 years. He’d like to see more business along the Highway 31 corridor near his business.

In July, Mayor Waters and City Manager DiFante plan to present the Pelham City Council with two projects that represent a $70 million dollar investment from developers.

“We are working on two development agreements with both developers. One is we’ve signed a letter of intent to purchase the valley elementary school. That is very much a mixed-use retail gathering, there is some event space that he has taken into consideration,” said DiFante.

The other project is across from the Oak Mountain Amphitheater. According to DiFante, “it is going to be a 240 multi-family unit, but it’s very urban, upscale, retail, small hotel very small footprint.”

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