Boom town credits low taxes, military jobs

FORT MITCHELL, Ala. — Ask Kathryn Bryant why her family wants to settle in Fort Mitchell, Ala., and her reply is straightforward.

“The houses, the prices, the different styles that they have, the lots,” responds the wife of Willie Bryant, a retired U.S. Army sergeant major and current FedEx contractor. The couple have a young daughter, Jada.

But there’s much more to the Bryants’ decision to live in the Alabama burg. There’s easy access to Fort Benning’s back gate, property taxes are lower in the county, and military pensions are not taxed by the state.

There’s also an intangible — having a front-yard seat to witnessing the birth of a small city.

“We’ve heard of the growth that’s going to be happening down here anyway. So why not be a part of it,” Kathryn Bryant, 29, said Tuesday while touring a home in The Registry subdivision. It’s one of several developments that have sprouted up, seemingly overnight, in this unincorporated farm and ranch community in eastern Russell County, about 12 miles south of Phenix City.

Anyone who doubts Fort Mitchell is a boom town in the making should listen to Ben Elliott, subdivision coordinator with the Russell County Engineering Department. He reviews lot plans and construction to make sure everything is built to the county’s specifications.

“There was nothing out there three years ago, and now there’s probably a thousand new houses,” said Elliott, recalling the 2005 announcement of Fort Benning’s expansion through the Base Realignment and Closure Commission.

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