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tascalisa Apr 4, 2009 6:11 AM

Decatur Development Thread
Well, I've decided that it's about time that Decatur get it's own...

To start off. This is from yesterday, but what they hey! Athens State University and Calhoun Community College want to join together to create a fine arts campus in downtown Decatur. Sadly, so far, the president of Calhoun has been the largest opponent of the idea... but! in yesterday's Decatur Daily, there finally seems to be a consensus!

Here's the link!

I think this is a GREAT idea. This is going to get a lot more support now that the state has approved incentives for the film industry. There's still a long way to go before this becomes a reality, but I'm finally starting to think that this could actually be realized.

Along with this. This isn't actually proposed, and hasn't been mentioned by anyone that I know of... except for me. But, I think it would be an awesome idea to, once a month (or every other month), close off 2nd Avenue and/or Bank Street to auto traffic and create a strictly pedestrian district for entertainment and socialization. The Princess Theatre could have special programs for each of these nights.

I'm surprised that more cities don't at least TRY this once or twice to see what happens. It seems like it could be very successful...

Anyways. That's all for now :)

tascalisa Apr 6, 2009 6:18 PM

In today's Decatur Daily, Barney Lovelace (the local attorney for Bass Pro) was cited as saying that as of January 2009, Bass Pro still plans a location in Decatur.

Bass Pro says that they will begin construction depending on the national economy and credit market conditions in the future. Lovelace says that a likely ground breaking is in 2010.

Of course, we all know that this can always change, but let us all pray...

tascalisa Apr 12, 2009 7:34 PM

In today's Daily, they had an article about the single-family homes that are replacing some housing projects in Decatur.

They Decatur Housing Authority is really starting to focus on "home ownership" so that people have more pride in where they live, thus the area is more safe, is more pleasant to look at, and improves the economy in the area.

I know most of you can't read the entire story on the website, because you have to pay to read it online *rolls eyes*, but just to kinda illustrate what's going on: the houses are brick, the owner gets to choose the paint color, appliances, the floor plans, etc...

The people that move into these houses are low income, so the housing authority aids them in getting credit approval for mortgages. The houses are 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and an attached garage, so these things look like genuine suburban houses, but they only cost about 90,000 dollars.

The great thing, this is actually cheaper than what used to sit on the property before they tore it all down. The people own the homes, instead of the housing authority paying for maintenance and all that stuff.

I hope that the city continues to do this stuff, especially because it's right next to downtown.

tascalisa Apr 14, 2009 7:29 PM

Good news! The city of Decatur's long term credit rating by Stand & Poor was increased from AA- to AA, which is the second highest rating.

tascalisa Apr 15, 2009 5:35 PM

Two things to report today.

The City of Decatur has received money from the Department of Transportation for more revamping of Second Avenue NE, and also received money to purchase and renovate the rail depot that was building 1900, which makes it 109 years old!

Also, and architect has been approved to design the parking lot that will replace the old Morgan County Jail annex. The parking lot will blend in with other landscaping and beautification efforts that are currently occuring in downtown!

Very very very good news, all around.

tascalisa May 5, 2009 10:43 PM

I know that y'all probably can't read all of this, because the stupid Decatur Daily makes you pay to read the news online, but it appears that Calhoun Community College and Athens State University have finally come up with plans for a 4 year arts program in downtown Decatur. Finally.

The two schools will present their plans to Bradley Byrne soon, and he'll present the plan to the state BOE for approval. Entities involved are Athens State University, Calhoun Community College, City of Decatur, and Morgan County. All of these have pledged their support. Decatur's credit rating was recently raised from AA- to AA, which is the second highest rating given by Standard and Poor, so, borrowing money shouldn't be a problem. Of course, making the payments my be difficult considering the economic climate.

Either way, this seems like it's finally building momentum. Of course, there's still a long way to go.

tascalisa Jun 7, 2009 12:28 AM

There's some kinda new shopping center going up at the corner of Central Parkway and 14th Street. Nothing huge, but it's still good news.

Also, money has been approved to extend sewer service to ALL of the campsites at the Point Mallard Campground. This should really attract A LOT more visitors for festivals like Alabama Jubilee and Spirit of America.

Also, bids have gone out for the robotics center at Calhoun.

Still haven't heard any new news about the downtown arts college with Calhoun and Athens State.

tascalisa Jun 13, 2009 5:00 AM

Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) has indicated that the Beltline Road widening from Gordon Terry Parkway to ALT 72/AL 20 is back on track. I didn't know it was off track, but w/e.

Also, discussion of constructing a tunnel under Beltline Road to allow Central Parkway to pass under the road, instead of running through the intersection, has been brought back up again. So, Phase III, which is between US 31 and Danville Road, might be delayed. We'll see though. Throwing all possible delays out, Phase III should being sometime next year.

tascalisa Jul 28, 2009 6:36 AM

Here are some pictures of some development around Decatur.

Academy Sports and Outdoors, located on Wimberly Drive SW (parallel to Beltline Road SW) next to Home Depot. Will open August 6th.

This is a random small shopping center being developed at the corner of 14th St SW and Central Parkway SW. It seems to have space for about three business, one of those will apparently be a gas station, which I find puzzling. Why? Because Decatur ranks 2nd when it comes to gas stations per capita...

tascalisa Jul 31, 2009 8:46 AM

Home sales in Morgan County have increased. So far in 2009, 59 new homes have entered the market and 41 have sold. While sales have increased, home prices have remained steady, bucking the trend of the nation as a whole.

tascalisa Aug 4, 2009 3:28 AM

The state board of education is set to discuss the Calhoun/Athens State partnership for an arts school in downtown Decatur on Aug 27.

tascalisa Aug 5, 2009 3:33 AM

A few stories to report on.

City wants AmSouth Building

Mayor Don Stanford confirmed that the city does want to buy the former AmSouth Tower on Lee Street in downtown Decatur. The 8 story building, built in 1982, is the second tallest in the city and would cost $5 Million.

The main reason for this is because the city currently leases a building in downtown for $70,000 a year for extra office space for the city.

Robotics Park Phase I

Phase I of the state funded Robotics Technology Park, which will hold classes through Calhoun Community College, is expect to begin construction next week. The 52,000 square foot building will cost $17 Million.

Phase II groundbreaking was delayed due to architecture work and planning and is expected to take place this October.

Phase III planning has not begun yet, but all phases are to be completed by the end of Governor Riley's term, per his request.

Downtown arts college

The chancellor of the state 2 year college system has recommended approval of the downtown arts college. This would be a partnership between Calhoun Community college, 2 year college, and Athens State, a 2 year 4 year college.

Morgan County, the city of Decatur, and other entities have approved their share of money for the project.

tascalisa Aug 7, 2009 6:22 AM

The "Old Somerville Courthouse", built in 1837 (the oldest existing courthouse in the Alabama), has been renovated and is now on display for the public.

Hartselle Enquirer article
Capitolshots Photography

tascalisa Aug 7, 2009 6:54 AM

The Industrial Development Board in Decatur approved two industrial expansions in the river city. AlphaPet Inc. and ITC-AL LLC, both won approval for their expansions.

ITC will spend $13 Million on their expansion, eventually employing 7 more employees. This expansion will pay education taxes of $56,450 each year.

AlphaPet will eventually become the largest producer of PET pellets in the country. These pellets are used to create various plastic products. This expansion will create 100 jobs (with a payroll of $4.5 million) within the next three years and will generate $469,546 in education taxes. AlphaPet capital investment in Decatur will total $181.2 million at the end of the expansion, which would be up by $20 Million.

Academy Sports and Outdoors opened yesterday. The store employs 125 full or part time employees.

tascalisa Aug 27, 2009 7:00 PM

The State School Board approved the downtown arts college for Decatur. This will be a joint venture between Athens State and Calhoun. However, a requirement for this to move forward is for Athens State to enroll more students, which the president expects to happen.

Calhoun Community College is the largest two year college in the state with over 10,000 students.

tascalisa Aug 27, 2009 7:29 PM

Also, the possibility of a "manager-council" government being established in Decatur is being considered. There is a petition going around the city, in order to force a referendum for a vote in 2010. Here's the petition, if anyone wants to look it over. Of course, only Decatur residents can sign it.

Petition Link

tascalisa Sep 17, 2009 5:53 PM

Decatur's schools are rated as the safest in the state by the State Board of Education.

This year, three schools in the system (Cedar Ridge Middle School, Brookhaven Middle School, and Chestnut Grove Elementary School) were awarded the Alabama Safe Schools award. The system has been awarded the award 15 times, the most out of any schools system in Alabama.

tascalisa Sep 18, 2009 4:13 PM

Morgan County's unemployment rate remained flat in August, staying at 10.5 percent. Limestone County's rate improved from 9.9 to 9.4. Lawrence County's rate climbed from 13.4 to 13.6.

Sulley Sep 18, 2009 5:31 PM


tascalisa Sep 18, 2009 6:30 PM


Originally Posted by DallasTexan (Post 4463151)


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