posted on December 02, 2011 12:45
FULTONDALE — If the city of Fultondale’s plans come to fruition, the corridor along U.S. Hwy. 31 will hardly be recognizable in a few years.
On Friday, at least 100 people packed the Fultondale council chambers to learn about the city’s revitalization plan for U.S. Hwy. 31.
Fultondale Mayor Jim Lowery said the Fultondale Commercial Development Authority, the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), land planners and city officials have been working together on the plan for more than a year. The MPO is a regional planning organization made up of several cities. Kelly Landscape Architects of Birmingham created the master plan.
“This is a comprehensive plan from city limit to city limit,” Lowery said.
Lowery said the plan was originally going to be created and released in phases, but the devastating April 27 tornado caused the city to change its focus from revitalization to storm recovery. Thus, the city released the first two phases together this week.
Phase 1 encompasses U.S. Hwy. 31 from Walker Chapel Road and west to the city limits. It includes significant commercial development (privately owned and city owned), including the next phase of the Promenade Shopping Center. It also includes residential growth and an expansion of municipal property.
Phase 2 goes from Walker Chapel Road and east to the Gardendale city limits. It includes commercial growth, office space, residential expansion and expansion of Black Creek Park and the Children’s Park.
The next study will include a revitalization plan for Walker Chapel Road from U.S. Hwy. 31 to where the new fire station is currently under construction across from Maplecrest Lane, according to Lowery.
“If you don’t plan, you don’t know where you’re going,” said Chuck Kelly, with Kelly Landscape Architects. Kelly explained the plan to a standing-room-only crowd on Friday.
Lowery said the plan could leap from paper to bricks and mortar in as few as five to seven years.
He said the city would not have to borrow money for the revitalization project.
“It’s an opportunity for people to come and build and develop,” he said.
Much of the infrastructure is already in place, he added, including drainage and gutters. In addition, the Alabama Department of Transportation recently finished a $3 million paving project in the city, where it resurfaced U.S. Hwy. 31.
One of the first projects residents will likely see rise from the dust are two, two-story office condominium on U.S. Hwy. 31 near Fultondale Elementary School.
Mike Hudson is proposing to build the office condos.
“I believe in this area,” Hudson told the audience on Friday. “I certainly see there’s a need for professional office building.”
Hudson said he wants to see professionals such as doctors, dentists and insurance agents in the buildings. He said they will be able to lease space in 2,000-foot increments, with the option to buy.
Lowery said the proposed tax base from the projects is almost $4 million annually.
“Our tax base, even with the tornado, has continued to grow,” Lowery said. “This is a very promising opportunity for Fultondale.”