Graysville wants to expand to the chagrin of some area residents

GRAYSVILLE, AL - By Jonathan Hardison

GRAYSVILLE, AL (WBRC) - The city of Graysville is looking to expand and grow by adding several miles of land in Jefferson County. But surrounding towns, even some Graysville homeowners, are questioning the move.

A lot of the landowners in the 2000-acre section of land say they didn't know anything about this until 2 weeks ago and any willingness they might have to become a part of the city of

Graysville went out the window when they felt left out of the loop.

At stake is who controls a plot of land that borders the future I-22.

It's farmland and a few neighborhoods now, but it could be prime real estate when the freeway is completed in a few years.

Graysville's mayor wants to bring the land into the city limits, but he needs the legislature's help because his city limits don't touch most of the land.

Folks in Brookside don't like the idea of being landlocked.

"They're making us touch property," said Brookside homeowner Alex Schaffer. "I don't see how they can be allowed to just jump over. Why not come and take Corner over? If Graysville wants Corner, they can do that."

But Mayor Doug Brewer says this is how big cities get bigger.
"Irondale, Birmingham, Mt. Brook, Vestavia, Fultondale, Gardendale, Hoover, they've all done it," Brewer said. "So the legislation's been in place for years, we're just trying to take action on it."

Brewer says his city can upgrade services to this rural area. "We have garbage protection, we have fire protection, we have enforcement from Jeffco Sheriff's. Had a lady tell me when she was walking in 'hey, I want my mom to come into the city because ya'll have an ambulance."

"Better services? They don't have a police department," said homeowner Michael Owens. He owns land in the disputed area and opposes the plan. "We're already in Jefferson County. We have our own deputy. Garbage service? They've got 2 trucks that might make it to my neighborhood. Water? We get that from Brookside. Gas? We get that from Brookside. So there's nothing Graysville can offer us."

At a standing room only meeting Monday night, no one raised their hands when asked if they wanted to become part of Graysville, but plenty of homeowners said they wanted out.

"If we want to live in Graysville, we'll buy some property and move in here," said one landowner to loud applause.     

"The reason we built where we are is so we'll be in unincorporated Jefferson County," said another.

"We've got a vision for our part of the county, and that is to expand our borders and welcome those who'd like to come into our city," Brewer said.

"We understand for those who might not want to come in, and they will not be forced to come in."

Brewer says anyone who wants out can fill out a form, turn it in, and be out of the plan. The entire plan still has to pass the legislature before becoming law.

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