PELL CITY – In an effort to lay the groundwork for what lies ahead, the city with join with several statewide partners to host a downtown revitalization workshop Tuesday night, and all those interested in the future of the area are encouraged to attend and share their opinions.
Along with City Manager Brian Muenger, representatives of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham (RPCGB) and the Alabama Historical Commission will be on hand to hear concerns, listen to ideas and answers questions about an important part of the city’s future development.
“It will be a collaboration session,” Muenger said. “We are going to put some information out and we are going to listen to things that are important to the people and take some direction from there.”
The RPCGB wrote a development plan for downtown Pell City in the early 2000s, but it was never implemented. With the renewed interest being shown by many in the community, it is a good time to exchange ideas, Muenger said.
“Now is the time to get everyone together and figure out how we can help each other and how the city can better serve our citizens and be more responsive to their needs,” Muenger said. “That will allow us to strategize about the things we can do and the things we need to figure out ways to do. It’s a kickoff, if you want to call it that.”
Muenger said he believes many in the community have questions they want to ask as well, and this will certainly be the time to do it.
“Frankly, there’s some questions that they need a forum to ask of us,” Muenger said. “That’s the kind of opportunities we are trying to provide through this workshop.”
For example, Muenger plans to touch on revitalizing blighted properties such as the Bussie Oil mill site.
“The natural question people will ask is, ‘Why does the city want a broken down, old oil shop?’” Muenger said. “The answer is we don’t, but we also don’t want it to continue sitting there being a blight on our city.
“More than 4,000 vehicles a day go past that site, and it doesn’t reflect well on our city. If the city is able to clean that property up, even if it is to return it to a green space, that is going to materially change how this area looks.”
Muenger said he also expects the discussion to include improving operational properties and buildings within the historic area as well.
“What we are going to leave there with is feedback,” Muenger said. “After we provide them some information, we are going to get their thoughts as well. We are going to poll the attendees about what they like and don’t like about the area. I think it’s going to be really productive.”
Funding for the event comes from ADEM as part of a $25,000 Technical Assistance Grant the city has received to explore and implement the cleanup of Brownfield sites in the area.
“I just really feel good about our downtown partners right now,” Muenger said. “I think we have some people there who are really good advocates for the community and very engaged. It feels like we have a group of people we can have discussions with that are more productive than maybe they have been in the past. I think it’s going to be a neat thing, and I am really looking forward to it.”
If you would like to attend, RSVP Jackie Griffin at email@example.com or call 205-338-2320. Refreshments will be provided.