Tuscaloosa’s Mayor Walter Maddox has always received support from members of the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce. In his uncontested election this year he raised more than $236,000, including contributions of $5000 from ROAR LLC (which does business as the College Station Properties), $3000 from The Builders Group of West Alabama, $5000 from Pritchett Moore and $5000 from Hudson Poole.
Manager of College Station Properties Jay Evans, The Builders Group’s President Brock Corder, President of Prudential Pritchett-Moore Wilson Moore and the Owner of Hudson-Poole Jewelers Gene Poole are all on the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 Board of Directors.
In 2012 the City of Tuscaloosa turned over its Office of Economic Development functions to the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama. The Chamber’s CEO Jim Page has been at City Council meetings as a booster for most of the big development projects. The Chamber’s business journal The Rising Tide emphasizes the importance of student-centered developments and Tuscaloosa’s “college area” economy. However the city’s Student Housing Taskforce is now looking at the surplus of student housing.
The City has taken steps to allow The Chamber to use the storm damaged armory property on 10th Avenue for a new business innovation center. The city is currently working to obtain the land from the Department of Defense for the EDGE business incubator. Funding for the property’s purchase, which will come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant disaster relief program, would also be used as a local match on an ADECA grant for the center. A criteria for a use of the armory land is that it would benefit the public. That the use of this property by the Chamber would satisfy that condition is not obvious to every one.