By John O'Connor | October 23, 2019 at 4:38 PM CDT - Updated October 23 at 7:16 PM
TUSKEGEE, Ala. (WSFA) - There is a major project underway at Exit 38 off of Interstate 85. It’s considered a gateway to the city of Tuskegee.
The project represents around a $20 million investment. Businesses are opening, under construction and on the books for the future.
On Wednesday, there was a ribbon cutting for a new Popeyes restaurant. Across the street a $7 million travel center is under construction.
The travel center will offer several eateries, fuel and the only electric vehicle charging station on that stretch of I-85. The restaurants include Huddle House and Little Caesars.
These two projects will bring in over 125 jobs. It represents a community-wide commitment to economic development.
“Literally in some people’s lifetime they have not seen commerce take place here. We’re at a point now where we have close to $20 million in projects either done, coming out of the ground or in the planning stages," said Macon County Economic Development Authority Director Joe Turnham.
A chicken place and a travel center may not seem like a big deal for a community, but it is.
“This will ad about 20 percent to the coffers of Tuskegee alone. Then you add the school system, the county government, and the economic development authority, this is a huge deal," Turnham said.
For businessman and Tuskegee native Jeff Potter this is personal. He has a history on this spot that has sat dormant for decades.
“Somewhere between [when I was] 8 to 9 years old, my father worked third shift. This was a Chevron site," Potter said. “Only God could take a young man and 50 something years later put you in place to be doing a $7 million project where there was a little kid - I used to be happy every night to come with my father to work.”
It’s a story of what can be for a native son a story of what was meant to be.
“It just shows that a person’s destiny is set long before he gets to where’s he’s going," Potter said.
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