Interstate cities bouncing back after Gulf oil spill

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -- The oil spill in the Gulf created a cloud of doubt one year ago, affecting businesses up and down Interstate 65 in Alabama.

Now they're talking about a turnaround.

"It's obvious to me traffic is up," said Greenville Mayor Dexter McClendon.

The mayor's not the only one.

Some businesses in Greenville have noticed the change as well, a change for the better.

Becky Sloane remembers all too well when she let go 4 employees and reduced the hours of those who remained during the height of the spill.

"Last summer July 4th was just dead," said Sloane.

Today? Business is up 45%.

"The highways are full and the interstate is open. This is good," said Sloane.

Sales tax numbers so far have indicated a 3% increase for Greenville, significant for a city this size.

"That would equate to about a $40,000 increase a month," said Mayor McClendon.

Up in Prattville Mayor Bill Gillespie says he doesn't have any hard numbers but gets a 'feeling' business is also much better.

"I hope it continues in that direction," said Gillespie.

The mayors of both cities can thank travelers like Kelly Wehby who typically spends around $70.00 on gas and food when he stops in Greenville on his annual trip to the beach.

"We stop here every summer," said Wehby.

Back in business and back on top, one year later.

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