By PHIL MAJOR
Alba City Council paved the way for a new convenience store and gas station Monday.
The council approved the sale of some long-abandoned streets surrounding the property, which faces U.S. Hwy. 69 just southeast of the Dollar General store.
Harry Patel said he plans a 5,000-square-foot metal building. The additional property will allow for future expansion, he said.
Patel said he owns similar facilities in Grand Saline and Gladewater. He said with Emory and Mineola experiencing growth, traffic on Hwy. 69 should support the business.
The council approved the sale with a provision that the property would revert to the city should Patel not commence construction in a timely manner.
The council discussed a fire hydrant that sits on the property, which may be moved or could be incorporated into a protected area where Patel would erect a sign. Should the hydrant be moved, the Alba Economic Development Corp. could help with the expense.
The streets were abandoned years ago when the Hwy. 69 route was created.
The council heard a presentation from Community Internet Providers (CIP) seeking an exclusive contract to locate equipment for internet service on the city’s water tower.
Another company, Nextwave, already has equipment located on the tower, but its contract is not exclusive.
Scott McGriff with CIP explained that multiple providers using similar frequencies could cause interference trouble’s for each other, diminishing the service offered.
The city has also received a similar request from a third firm, Nextlink, but that company was not represented at the meeting.
Nextwave is paying $100 per month, and CIP offered $250 per month for exclusive use of the tower.
The council agreed to look at Nextwave’s contract and consider the request in September.
Peoples Communications also offers service in Alba from a private tower.
McGriff said CIP has received many calls requesting service in the area.
He also said that, as a service to the city, the firm would correct a leaning radio tower that houses a storm siren.