TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — City leaders in Tuscaloosa are hoping to spur more development on the city's west side and in other parts of the community.

Plans involve luring investors and development to west Tuscaloosa and other areas which have been neglected or fallen from favor, The Tuscaloosa News reported .

The Tuscaloosa City Council was recently updated on plans to overhaul the city's economic incentive policies while targeting areas in the western, eastern and southern portions of Tuscaloosa.

"This is one of the most exciting things the city has done in a long time," said District 5 Councilman Kip Tyner, whose district stands to benefit from the some of the policy changes.

The city council is expected to decide in a couple of weeks whether to proceed with the plans or offer changes.

The proposal would make changes to an economic incentive policy adopted by the Tuscaloosa City Council in 2012, as well as guidance from the council on where the city's economic development efforts should be focused.

For the incentives, city staffers including Brendan Moore, executive director of the city's Department of Urban Development, are suggesting amendments that would stimulate growth in underserved areas of the city while targeting certain businesses and services to try and boost quality of life.

The city's current economic incentives favor "new to market" retailers, but repeat businesses and even those that might move from one part of the city to a currently underserved area could qualify for the same incentives if the policy changes are adopted by the City Council, the newspaper reported.

Also, if the changes are enacted, eligible businesses and investors must meet one of eight outlined criteria in order to qualify for the incentives. Among them: The renovation of abandoned buildings; the "activation" of vacant parcels; the creation or retention of jobs; and the removal of blight, among others.


Information from: The Tuscaloosa News, http://www.tuscaloosanews.com