Saturday, December 20, 2014

Community Input Workshop Planned For Wetumpka Revitalization Plan
By Catalina Trivino

The project to revitalize Wetumpka's riverfront and downtown areas have been in the works for about two years now -- and to wrap up the final planning phase, they're inviting you to help with their plan.

Wetumpka city leaders have a vision for the future -- but they say that vision can only come to life if they get the community involved. So, that's why they're planning workshops for the public and they want to know what you would like to see come to the city.

Regina Edwards owns one of Wetumpka's oldest buildings in downtown. She says she's invested about $300,000 in the last several years to make the building look just as it did in 1855. And a facelift is exactly what she says she wants to see in Wetumpka's historic downtown.

"I have a large investment here and a lot of the other land owners do and we really need some new infrastructure, we need a new sewer system, we need new sidewalks. We'd like to see the powerlines moved to the back of the building," Said Edwards.

She's one of many who plan to attend Wetumpka's public planning workshop -- a meeting open to the public, where they'll be divided into groups to decide the future of Wetumpka's downtown and riverfront areas.

"They'll be able to record areas of downtown they would like to preserve, areas which they would like to see new development and what they would like to see in those areas... whether it be residential or commercial," Said David Robinson, Wetumpka's Planning and Program Director. He says the goal of the workshop is to find trends in what the majority of people want to see in town and then take that information to develop a concept.

It's a concept Eric Hyde says he, too, plans to get involved in and he thinks getting the community's input is the best way to make Wetumpka a "destination city."

"I envision some brick sidewalks, something that just aesthetically kind of brings you to that old memory of what Wetumpka used to look like when you look at some of the old pictures and kind of give it that hometown feeling sitting next to the river," Said Hyde.

The city has been awarded $377-thousand dollars to upgrade its streets thanks to a grant by the Alabama Department of Transportation -- those upgrades include adding lighting, more sidewalks and resurfacing streets. City planners tell us they plan to start work Spring 2014.

City leaders say this is the final phase in the planning process for the revitalization plan. That workshop will be next Monday at 6 p.m. in Wetumpka's administrative building.