Brundidge presents new city plan to residents

Published 9:32 pm Thursday, June 3, 2010

A handful of residents gathered at Brundidge station Thursday for the final presentation of a comprehensive city plan by the South Central Alabama Development Commission (SCADC).

Sylvia Thurman spent a good amount of time there looking at some of the ideas proposed by the planners.

“If everything goes well I think it will be great,” she said.

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“When will it get started? That’s what I want to know,” Willa White added.

Both friends said they would be interested in seeing more retail shops in Brundidge.

For the SCADC’s Tracy Delaney, who is spearheading the project, procuring more retailers would certainly help to realize the vision of the plan.

Delaney said that redeveloping the intersection at U.S. Highway 231 and S.A. Graham Blvd. into a “gateway,” that would encourage travelers to stop and then explore further into town is vital.

“For me that’s the number one priority,” she said.

That would involve fostering businesses that let passersby know that there’s more to Brundidge if they head east on S.A. Graham Blvd.

The city’s end of the bargain for the undertaking would involve upgrading existing infrastructure and aesthetics.

City Manager Britt Thomas said he was on board.

“I’m really interested in focusing on the gateway, we’re going to help with some of that,” he said.

Thomas cited the installation of new LED lights in the area as an upcoming initial step.

Other improvements including landscaping, area beautification and roadwork would be necessary as well, but Delaney said businesses in the area would ultimately be the foundation for the strategy.

“Local entrepreneurship is going to be a driving force,” she said.

And Delaney said all of those factors should be conducive to supporting downtown Brundidge where it’s essential that stakeholders there cooperate as well.

“The merchants have got to get together and continue to promote the downtown area,” she said.

Darrell Skipper, who has worked with Delaney on several planning projects including the city of Greenville and the University of Alabama campus, was also present to offer his expertise in transportation.

“Originally when we came to Brundidge we had an idea of what some of the problems might be,” Skipper said.

But the consultant received some rather unexpected feedback from Brundidge residents.

“Transportation is always important, but we were surprised the transportation issue was as prominent as it was. When you get here and see the situation, you see why.”

Skipper was referring in part to 18-wheeler traffic through Brundidge, which has been a popular topic amongst residents.

A proposed tractor-trailer reroute has been revealed that aims to suppress that traffic without causing an inconvenience or safety hazard for truckers.

All the ideas that were presented Thursday are pending a final proposal from the SCADC and review by city officials.

Skipper said that no matter what leaders of Brundidge decide, it’s imperative to get a strategy in place.

“That’s the key in any community,” he said.

“You’ve got to have a plan. You’ve got to set priorities to it and move forward.”

The SCADC’s final draft of the plan is not far off.

“We’ve got out final recommendations up and we will be writing and issuing our final report in the next couple weeks.”

That is something the City Manager said he is looking forward to.

“I’m curious about the final plan,” Thomas said, “ to be able to look at it and evaluate the feasibility of implementing it.”

And Thomas said input from the people of Brundidge is key in the decision making process.

“Most of it, in the end, is going to have to come from the people in the community,” he said.

Delaney agreed.

“Community spirit is the main issue here, you’ve got to have people working together.”

Southern Classic Food Group employee Charlie Bell was at the open house doing his part to get involved.

“I’m just proud to see what they’re doing,” he said.

“We really need to get the community involved.

Brundidge residents will have one more opportunity to get involved after the city council considers the final report and holds a public hearing on their take of it in the near future.