Words by Jenny Lynn Davis | Image by Al Blanton
In their regular meeting on January 17, the Jasper City Council approved the adoption of a resolution that authorizes Mayor David O’Mary to execute an agreement to provide economic development assistance for Rural King Realty, Inc.
Rural King, an Illinois-based farm supply store, is anticipated to open in the 90,000 square-foot vacant space formerly occupied by Kmart at the Jasper Mall within the next year. This would be Rural King’s fourth Alabama location, joining stores in Huntsville, Muscle Shoals, and Dothan.
According to City Attorney Russ Robertson, the agreement provides for the City of Jasper to make an upfront payment toward Rural King’s development, followed by tax rebates once the store is conducting business on the property.
During the meeting, the city council held a public hearing concerning the adoption of the resolution but received no comments from the public. The Council voted unanimously to approve the adoption of the resolution, noting their excitement for the business to open in Jasper.
“Rural King is a first-rate outfit and will be great for rehabilitating the Jasper Mall. It’s a destination and will draw crowds, which will help other retailers in the mall, too,” said Councilman Gary Cowen.
Mayor David O’Mary also commented on the potential revitalization of Jasper Mall that could result from Rural King’s occupancy, stating that “having two attractive anchor stores on each end of the mall (Dunham’s Sporting Goods and Rural King) means that the interior portion of the mall will become more attractive to other retailers.”
“With what we know about Rural King, we expect them to draw crowds not only from Walker County, but counties contiguous to Walker County and even beyond, and we’re excited about that,” added O’Mary. “Our mission in this administration is to build a better Jasper, and welcoming Rural King to the community is part of that.” WL