Decatur Development Blog

Expansion and Development in the Greater Decatur area

Posts Tagged ‘2nd Avenue’

My Idea for 2nd Ave

Posted by alalto on October 22, 2009


When you look at downtown, what do you see? A lot of cement, asphalt, and stone. Most of it, amazingly white and hot. It almost make it seem too hot to even get out of your car right? While there is a big streetscape project going on right now, but I feel that A LOT more could be done.

A big detriment to Decatur’s downtown is the fact that it isn’t truly centered around a body of water. If you look at the most successful and enjoyable downtowns in the country, they’re all on water, and they embrace it. New Orleans, New York, Chicago, Miami, Tampa, Nashville, Memphis, and the list goes on. In Alabama, Mobile, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, Florence, etc… all do pretty good jobs of using the river to their advantage.

While we can’t move downtown physically and place it right next to river, there are some other things we can do. Think of the pocket park, or the fountain at Delano, or any other park that utilizes a water feature, they’re all big attractions that attract people and make a downtown area seem more enjoyable and not so “hot” and oppressive.

So here is my idea. We’re fortunate enough to have a good street grid in downtown. 2nd avenue is pretty heavily traveled, BUT, the streets that parallel 2nd are very underused and under traveled. Keeping that in mind, this is what I propose.

Tear up the road on 2nd avenue. Construct an artificial creek where the road used to be. A good example of what this entire thing might look like is centennial Olympic park in Atlanta:

Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta

Here is a map of what I propose:

2nd Avenue Decatur

Now, the above seems like it would disrupt all the efforts that the city is putting into the area, but that is simply not true. The streetscaping that they are doing mostly lies in the form of the sidewalks, which would be used, and expanded in this proposal.

Starting at Johnston Street, the road would be torn up and replaced with a creek-bed. Paralleling the creek would be a sidewalk on either side. I would propose a large waterfall somewhere down the road, maybe in front of Emiron Music or maybe next to the pocket park, to enhance the stream and turning it into more of a magnet. People like to see nature in downtown areas, and this is a great way to do it. Plus, this would create a cool spot to sit around on summer shopping trips in downtown for people to get away from all the heat.

At the foot of the creek, there would be a main plaza with a pond where the creek ends. I would propose putting in a grand fountain in the middle. This would act as a central location for downtown, or a true “square” something that Decatur probably hasn’t had since the mid 1800s.

This type of development would look like Bridge Street Towne center in Huntsville, except I’d think it would be better looking. It would make downtown look much much better, attract more people downtown, and would attract those boutique retail stores that cities all over the country are attempting to bring to town.

Would this be expensive? Yes, it would, but in my opinion, this is a sure fire way to bring people downtown.

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Lots o’ good news

Posted by alalto on May 19, 2009


There was a lot of good news announced in the Decatur Daily today.

The city council unanimously approved the $800,000 requested by the colleges for the arts campus. The county of course also approved their portion a few days ago. The city donated the money, as well as the property, to the State Board of Education, for the campus.

An interesting note was made that Morgan County is the most populous county in the state that does not have an institution of higher education within its borders.

I’m really happy about this. Not only with this provide for improved access to education in the city, and economic development in downtown, but it will also keep some of the oldest buildings in downtown from being demolished.

Another development with this is that the two year college chancellor is planning to resign. What we saw last time this happened was another slow down on this project. They’re saying that the chancellor stepping down shouldn’t have any effect on the project. And, I’m praying that this is true…

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Phase 1 of Uptown Art District?

Posted by alalto on August 7, 2008


Ok, so, I was just surfing around the internet. I was just doing some digging to find some development stuff that might now be being told to the public, or advertised as much. So, I stumbled across the Decatur Downtown Redevelopment Authority and I was just clickin around. So, apparently, the Phase 1 of the Uptown Art District is what is going on across 2nd Avenue from the Princess Theatre!!! I’ve been wondering what’s going on over there, and now we finally know! I wonder why this wasn’t released to the public. Hmmm, anyways. It’s just supposed to be an outdoor performance plaza. This is goingt to be a great asset to downtown and the effort to attract funding for the downtown arts district.

Here’s the link to the picture.

Phase 1

Be sure to snoop around some more on that sight. It’s got some pretty cool stuff in it.

Remember, I LOVE me some feedback!

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District 2 race, MorgCo Health Department, and school board elections

Posted by alalto on August 3, 2008


There are five men seeking the seat of the city council District 2.   Of all of them, I did not see a GREAT candidate other than incumbent David Bolding and an unexpected visionary by the name of Jack Gresseman.  The others were less than impressive and seemed to steer away from being partisan on the questions that were asked.  Surprisingly, Gresseman only has a high school diploma and works at the Target Distribution Center in Limestone County.  

I was impressed with Gresseman’s answers though.  He had some pretty good things to say.  He proposed building up entertainment venues in the Sweetwater area of Decatur and constructing a sky lift between Sweetwater and Point Mallard.  That is something that could be really successful IMO.  I remember going to Point Mallard as a little kid and when we were finished swimming, we ALWAYS wanted to go get ice cream.  I have a feeling that a lot of people still feel this way, so people could just hop on the sky lift and head to Sweetwater and maybe go to Coldstone or Marble Slab.  I think it’s an AMAZING idea.

I liked Gresseman, Bolding, and James Tardy’s ideas about downtown redevelopment the best.  Gresseman proposed attracting more bars and eateries downtown to create more foot traffic.  Bolding discusses bringing more employees and students in, which I think is the key to a downtown’s success these days.  And Tardy is a business owner on 2nd Avenue, so I think his insight would be invaluable.

The MorgCo Commission is entering the hunt to aid the MorgCo Health Department find land for a new facility.  Sites being looked at are the Wallace Center on US 31 S in Decatur, sites in Hartselle, and a site along Old Moulton Road, in Moulton Heights, just outside the Decatur city limits.  

I think the Old Moulton Road site would be best.  The property is just outside of Decatur, and the annexation of this property for the health department would aid in annexation processes of the Moulton Heights area, which is a large and moderately populated area of Morgan County that is almost completely surrounded by the city of Decatur.  

District 1 race candidates are making dropouts and a central high school their number 1 platforms.  Mainly discussed was the idea of a central high school.  Personally I like the idea, but the costs would be enormous and there is really no where inside the city where you could build one.  Maybe along Central Parkway, but that’s only if you tear down Decatur Utilities.  Other proposals were to add floors to proposed future buildings at Austin High and adding a third floor to Decatur.  Both of those ideas are the best IMO.  One of the candidates even suggested tearing down Ogle Stadium.  That would be nothing short of pure stupidity.  There’s too much tradition in that stadium.  

Wow, that was a long post.  I still haven’t come up with that catchy slogan, I promise I’ll get back to yah.

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Buses, Sweetwater and a sit down with the Mayoral candidates.

Posted by alalto on July 27, 2008


Decatur City Schools has approved expanding the current bus systems from 17 routes to 27 routes.  This will enable the busing system to encompass the entire system and allow full busing for all students.

The Daily recently sat down with mayoral candidates Don Kyle and Don Standford.  Both candidates talked about things like energy issues, citizen complaints, and Calhoun’s venture to locate an arts program downtown.  Both candidate’s answers were almost exactly the same, and both seemed like genuinely good candidates, but I’m still partial to Don Kyle. 

Some things I found interesting in the interview with the candidates was the mention of the downtown redevelopment proposals and some road construction proposals.  The downtown redevelopment was what I most enjoyed.  They both expect to have lower Bank Street redevelopment started in fiscal 2009 (if funding is available) and 2nd Avenue started in fiscal 2010.  2nd Avenue would be the most expensive at around $1.2 Million and Bank Street would be the least  at $874,000.  The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has already given $350,000 to the 2nd Avenue cause and local businesses have amassed some $112,000. 

As for road construction, there was mention of a proposed connector of Auburn Drive and Modaus Road in Southwestern Decatur.  This was interesting to hear, cause I’d NEVER heard of it.  There weren’t any details really offered at all.  But, it definitely sounds like a good proposal that would encourage a lot of residential growth in the Cedar Ridge area.

Finally, after 4 months, the city council is set to vote on whether or not to approve a contract with Genesis USA for the Sweetwater development.  If approved, Genesis would develop the first planned phase (125 acres) of the 536 acre property at the corner of Alabama 20 and I-65.  Sweetwater is to contain a Bass Pro Shops.  Genesis USA has yet to formalize a deal with any hotel developmer, which is key to repaying the debt that the city of Decatur would incure by offereing incentives to Genesis.

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