Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dexter Avenue Still Priority for Montgomery
By Josh Ninke

The City of Montgomery announced plans to update Dexter Avenue with new stores and museums years ago.

But where does the project stand today? 
These empty sidewalks used to be packed with shoppers all along Dexter Avenue.
"Back in the 60's, I used to come down here. I was kind of small boy. All these buildings like ATL Green, JJ Newberry's," said Montgomery resident J.C. Holloway
But now things are very different. But the city is looking to 2015 as a goal to completely change the area.
"In 2015, there are two major anniversaries coming up. The 60th anniversary of the Rosa Parks, and the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March. We want all of that to be finished with construction," said Mayor Todd Strange.
We'll soon see construction start on the new Questplex children's museum and library of the future, as well as the demolition of buildings around the Kress building. But one man I spoke with hopes to see the old buildings preserved.
"Me personally, being an older gentleman here, I'd like to see some of the older buildings renovated or updated rather than torn down and having a newer structure put in front of it," said Charles Dean, who's lived in Montgomery for 49 years. 
Local developer Mike Watson now owns the Kress building. Mayor Strange says he doesn't expect Watson to build a wright brothers museum. He has something else in mind. 
"The last conversation I had with Mike, he was looking for some performance area, maybe have a museum element in there. I know he wants to have a lounge. He's done quite well with his entertainment activities," said Mayor Strange. 
The most immediate change you'll probably see is the repaving of Dexter all the way up to the Capitol building. That should start in the next month or two. 
Some private construction is already under way. One developer is already building new loft apartments next to the City Drug store.