Brundidge unveils comprehensive plan

Published 9:32 pm Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A small gathering of Brundidge citizens attended the Close Out Public Hearing and Review session of the city’s Comprehensive Plan Summary 2010 at Brundidge Station Tuesday afternoon along with members of the Brundidge City Council and its planning commission and strategic planning committee.

The meeting was the culmination of a year of meetings, evaluations and planning for the city’s vision for its next 25 years.

The strategic plan for the city was funded through a $45,000 CDBG grant from ADECA with the city’s match at $11,250.

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The Comprehensive Plan included the city’s vision as a dynamic environment where progress embraces tradition.

The plan outlined the city’s mission to retain its character and ensure a quality of life through progressive economic development, by providing adequate utilities and infrastructure, maximizing land use, implementing recreational facilities and conducting periodic needs assessments and utilization.

The plan was prepared by the South Central Alabama Development Commission and characterized Brundidge as a town with a declining and aging population with an income per household lower than the area average and a high percentage of people living below the poverty level.

The Comprehensive Plan included development concepts and strategies for economic development, housing, community facilities, utilities and infrastructure, transportation and land use.

“Today was a lot to learn and I need to look at the plan more in depth before coming to any conclusions,” said Councilmember Cynthia Pearson. “But one thing that interested me was that, as far as land development, we have limitations that will have to be addressed.”

Council member Lawrence Bowden said the Comprehensive Plan is nothing that is written in concrete.

“It’s a guide that we can adapt and then get things clarified and in writing,” Bowden said. “The Comprehensive Plan provides us with new subdivisions regulations which we’ve not had before and ways we can develop our city as we plan for the future.”

Councilmember Vernon Jackson said that he was not sure how much value the plan has because it includes things that he doesn’t see as happening.

“We’ll never get a bypass around Brundidge to resolve the truck traffic problem,” he said. “Some of the plan is just not going to happen.”

The interests of the citizens who attended the council’s public hearing that followed the Close Out hearing were more directed toward a short range plan for the city than a long range plan.

The main concern expressed was the truck traffic situation in downtown Brundidge and what could be done to alleviate it, now rather than later.

Mayor Jimmy Ramage said signage that routes the trucks along the 231 bypass to the north and south ends of town could help with the truck traffic that turns onto and off of Main Street.

Richard Chapman inquired as to what image the citizens want to project for Brundidge.

Terry Casey responded by saying that the city’s positive image centers around its championship football teams, Antique City theme and the We Piddle Around Theater.

“But none of those entice people to move here,” Chapman said.

Kate Taylor of Taylor Realty said the lack of housing is a serious problem in Brundidge and keeps away potential residents.

Dixie Shehane suggested beautification projects that include incorporating plants and benches into the cityscape. “Several years ago, the Brundidge Business Association came up with a plan to develop the area in front of Brundidge Station,” Shehane said. “Brundidge has naturally fluorinated water and it was suggested that we use the existing warehouse wall as a backdrop for a fountain.

“The Brundidge Station area is a perfect place where visitors and residents can relax on benches in a park like atmosphere.”

Walking trails within the city were also suggested as was the enforcement of city ordinances that would rid the city of much of its unsightly areas.

Pearson suggested that the citizens of Brundidge come together as one to address the issues that had been raised and then work together to bring about the changes that will make Brundidge a better place to live and work.

Following the public hearing, the council heard a report from City Manager Britt Thomas on the city’s financial statement with 25 percent of the fiscal year gone.

“The numbers should be perfect but they’re not,” Thomas said. “But we are on track at 20 percent of the revenue that was budgeted and 22 percent of the expenditures that were budgeted. We are on line to meet the numbers.”

Thomas also reminded the council of the dedication ceremony for the American Liberty Elm at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the triangle on the north side of town.