Controversy arises after Vestavia turns down Jimmie Hale

VESTAVIA HILLS, AL (WBRC) - VESTAVIA HILLS, AL (WBRC) -  There is some angry reaction Tuesday to the decision by the Vestavia Hills City Council Monday not to allow a Jimmie Hale Mission thrift store on Highway 31. Shoppers who live outside the city say they may decide not to shop in Vestavia anymore as a result of the decision.

Mayor Alberto Zaragoza was asked if he was concerned when informed of comments on the and FOX6 NEWS' Facebook page of threats to avoid his city.

"I think it does, anytime you have people say they're not going to come into Vestavia Hills and shop because we think we're upper-crust people," Zaragoza said.

FOX6 showed Facebook and comments about Monday's decision to the mayor.

There are comments like "Sounds like one class of people looking down on another class of people" and "This is a dark day for Vestavia Hills. It's always better for a community to be charitable."

Another post reads "Why should 'certain type of folk' continue to shop and live in Vestavia? There are plenty of other places for us 'po' folks who may need to shop at thrift stores to spend our money."

The mayor says those comments concern him. But he thinks the perception of the city looking down its nose at the mission is wrong. He believes the opposition was motivated by a desire to revitalize the whole Highway 31 corridor.

"The large majority of our residents were saying "if we're going to do that, let's plan it and see what we can get in here on the upper side of retail,"  said Zaragoza.

"You would take that into consideration because if it was just going to be to raise money for charity. I don't see anything wrong with that," said Victoria Jones who shops in Vestavia Hills but lives in Homewood. "It would make you reconsider some things and think about maybe shopping somewhere else."

"I wouldn't read too much into it," said Joshua White, a Vestavia Hills resident. "I'm new here. But from what I can tell, there's not much of an air about the place that we exclude someone from that type of environment, so I wouldn't read too much into it."

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