New motel for Rutledge

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 9, 2004

Best Western will have 50 guest rooms

By George Wacha

The Town of Rutledge was the place to be on Thursday, July 29, as ground was broken for a new 50-room Best Western Motel, complete with a conference center.

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"Steve Smith and Mark Richards, representing KMC Group/M & Z Development, LLC, out of Pensacola, Fla. have announced they will build a Best Western Motel here in Rutledge," said Joe Dexter Flynn. "They are bringing it to Justice Avenue, at the intersection of Alabama Highway 10 and U.S. Highway 331 - it will have access from Highway 331 also."

Flynn said the development of this project has been a long time in the making.

"We have been working on bringing a motel to Rutledge since 1997," the mayor said. "This project has been 30 months in the making, and each of the 50 or 60 people here today have been instrumental in making this day happen, including Ned Ellis, CEO of First Lowndes Bank in Fort Deposit; Alan Bowen, president of the Greenville branch of First Lowndes Bank; and Jeff Clark at Colonial Bank.

"Also, we could not have done this without the constant support of the Crenshaw County Chamber of Commerce," Flynn said. "They have supported us through thick and thin, along with CenturyTel, which has been tremendously helpful - especially Jeff Adams, who works for CenturyTel."

The $2.8 million facility will be located on two acres of land, adjacent to Circle A Food Mart.

Flynn said a study had been performed by hotel consultants, who traveled all over Crenshaw County performing traffic flow studies.

"They took into consideration the outstanding work the Crenshaw County Economic and Industrial Development Authority has made with SMART, DongWon and Lilla Engineering, all in support of the Hyundai Motors Manufacturing America facility," he said. "It really pushed this area over the top - traffic studies have shown more than 14,000 vehicles per day travel through this intersection."

"Seriously, we have been working on this project for five years to bring it to fruition," said Steve Smith. "This has really become a personal goal for us, having worked on it for so long. We have come to know a lot of people here, and it seems it will be a mutually good project."

Smith's partner, Mark Richards, explained the way things would take place.

"We will have a management company that will operate the facility, which will be franchised by Best Western," Richards said. "The motel will be two stories tall, made of stucco, and will have a pool, conference facility and exercise facility. We have decided since the study was completed, that this would be the best spot in the county for us to build a motel."

Richards said the project would not have come to happen with dedication from Mayor Flynn.

"We really appreciate the assistance of Joe Dexter Flynn and (Rutledge) Town Clerk Rita Brown," Richards said. "Joe Dexter has the tenacity of a bulldog, and has been determined to make this dream become a reality."

"Our consultants have been really helpful to us," Flynn said, "because they are working on infrastructure grants to make this become a benefit to our citizens - more jobs and more incoming revenue to the Town will allow us to improve the public service we can offer our citizens. And this has really been because of the invaluable assistance of Ned Ellis - I cannot say enough to give him credit for assisting us - he really helped us to make this become a reality."