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Residents discuss future of Brundidge

Where do Brundidge residents see the city in 20 to 25 years? That was the question of the day at the first comprehensive plan public workshop Thursday afternoon.

A small gathering of Brundidge residents came out to Brundidge station to voice their opinions on the matter.

Residents took part in a survey about Brundidge, which included questions such as “What is the first thing you think when you think of Brundidge?” “What are the worst attributes of Brundidge?” and “List five landmarks in Brundidge.”

City Manager Brit Thomas said he would like to see more participation at the next meetings but said he understands that the time is a factor.

Thomas said he thinks the residents who participated had some good ideas.

“I look forward to increased participation,” Thomas said. “I saw sincerity in answers and discussions.”

Those in attendance tossed out visions for the future of Brundidge.

The general consensus agreed they would like to keep the small town atmosphere but see growth.

Another vision was to have a cultural arts center, continuation of the theater, more places to shop, a new subdivision, more rental properties and more jobs to attract hometown graduates.

Residents told Tracey Delaney, who works for the South Central Alabama Development Commission, there were some “sacred cows,” so to speak, that residents wouldn’t be willing to give up.

Those included, good people, racial harmony, good law enforcement, strong churches, accessibility to government, good library system, antiques and the electric system.

Brundidge’s assets were also thrown on the table.

Residents concluded that the city has a good water system, library, electric system, people, fire department, knowledgeable and caring leaders, restaurants, local doctor, police department, senior services, school system and theater among other things.

The crowd also had a list full of liabilities, which included animal control, drug problems, lack of city recognition, pollution and littering, trucks through town, no full-time ambulance service, dilapidated houses and trailer parks, vacant commercial buildings, limited parking visibility downtown and more.

Delaney also asked the crowd to discuss issues that need resolving within the city.

Residents had a list of those, too, which included the Post Office location, truck traffic turning corners downtown, a chip plant being too close to residential areas. Others said the city is land locked, has a need for a larger economic groups to look out for Brundidge, since many of the city’s residents agreed during the meeting that the Pike County Chamber of Commerce doesn’t look out for Brundidge’s interests.

Other issues included a need for a second grocery store and retail stores and anti-littering.

The residents set up goal framework with ideas of things they would like to see in certain categories.

In economic development, they all agreed they would like to see more industry for jobs, retail stops, accommodations and perhaps a trucking center.

In terms of housing, the residents said they would like to see more subdivisions, rentals and a manufactured housing park.

Under the utility infrastructure category residents said the city needed more underground utilities and storm water drainage.

A truck bypass north of the city, promotion of the Pike-Area Transit system and a good use for the airport were among the things discussed for transportation.

In community facilities the residents strongly supported the need for a recreation center in Brundidge, a cultural arts center and a walking trail.

Delaney said she thought it was an opportunity that the entire city needs to avail themselves of.

She said it’s a good opportunity for residents to heed the example of the residents in the 1940s and make some progressive changes.

Another public workshop will be held Feb. 11 from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The tasks at hand will be economic development, utilities and infrastructure, transportation, housing and community facilities.