SHEFFIELD — Groundbreaking for the proposed Inspiration Landing resort project continues to remain in a holding pattern while city officials wait for approval from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, the Alabama Historical Commission and the Cherokee and Chickasaw Indian tribes.
City Councilman Ronnie Wicks said once ADEM signs off on paperwork related to the Brownfield grant used to clean up the old city dump, the Sheffield Redevelopment Authority can transfer the property to the city, which will deed the property to Inspiration Landing.
The Historical Commission wants assurances that remnants of the old furnaces on the property won't be disturbed, while the native American tribes want to be assured there were no significant Native American artifacts found on the property.
Wicks said he thinks the tribes have the Inspiration Landing project confused with Tuscumbia Landing, an area near the property that is sacred to many native Americans due to its role in the Trail of Tears. Tuscumbia Landing is near the site, but will not be impacted by the development, he said.
He and Councilman Steve Stanley are confident the Native Americans will sign off on the project, as will ADEM and the Historical Commission.
The letters are needed before the city can draw funds from a $4.5 million U.S. Department of Agriculture loan they will use to build a road into the site and develop other infrastructure.
"The USDA has all the paper work ready to sign off," Wicks said.
Becky West of the media relations firm WestRogers said developer John Elkington continues to work with an Alabama microbrewery and a distillery that will be located in the Furnace Hill development, which will feature a town center with unique shops and restaurants, an event center, amphitheater and other amenities.
West said the city rezoned property on West 20th Avenue that will allow developers to build a combination Sleep Inn/Mainstay Suites that will lie outside the perimeter of the project. They're both part of the Choice Hotels brand.
"Mainstay is a newer brand for choice," West said. "It makes for a great community resource."
She said developers want to include electrical outlets in the parking lot to accommodate anglers who keep equipment on their boats charged overnight.
Once the documents are received, Wicks said he hopes that groundbreaking can take place in late summer or early fall.