gas station

Cliff Williams / The Outlook City officials are trying to determine the property owner of the gas station at the corner of Cherokee Road and Airport Drive. The city has gas valves under the parking lot and the building is falling into disrepair.

Alexander City leaders may soon be forced to deal with a vacant gas station at the corner of Cherokee Road and Airport Drive.

The building has been boarded up, gas nozzles and hoses removed and grass uncut.

“It came up on our radar a couple of weeks ago,” Alexander City Mayor Woody Baird said. “The building is just deteriorating to the point it is about to be condemned.”

Baird said Alexander City has utilities in the parking lot facing Cherokee Road.

“We have some gas valves under that concrete that we need to pull up and service,” Baird said. “If it gets to the point of being condemned, we will go in and condemn it and tear the concrete up and replace the valves.”

Baird said the issue at the moment is determining who to contact to allow the city to work with the property owner, even to the point of possibly reopening the gas station.

“It’s almost like a shell game,” Baird said. “It goes from this company to this company to this company. You can’t get anybody on the phone. We have had several people who want to open it. We can’t seem to get anybody on the phone to say whether they will or won’t.”

Alexander City Chamber of Commerce vice president of business development Jacob Meacham said the property was acquired during a merger.

“I think it was bought by the company who owns MAPCO,” Meacham said. “I think they are out of Tennessee. It was a family owned company from around Ft. Payne that had a lot of gas stations and sold out several hundred to MAPCO.”

MAPCO currently has a location less than a quarter mile away at U.S. Highway 280 and Airport Drive. Calls by The Outlook to MAPCO have not been returned.

Baird said the city would not be liable for the gas tanks still in the ground if the city were to condemn and demolish the building whose roof is now sagging.

“The tanks would be whoever had the last bond on the tanks,” Baird said. “It would be their responsibility. They had to have bonds on those tanks and they will have to clean those tanks up or cash the bond.”

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.

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