Tag: alabama

Take Action: Help Valley, Alabama redevelop their textile mills

When the Langdale and Riverdale textile mills closed in the 1990’s, the residents of Valley, Alabama, not only lost a major employer. They lost part of their heritage.

For years the mills have stood as a reminder of what the town lost. Residents, however, saw potential for transforming the historic buildings into a vibrant, walkable neighborhood. The City agreed—but industrial contamination stood in their way.

Now, a federal brownfields grant is helping Valley clean up the land and achieve their vision, and a bill in Congress could help towns like Valley achieve similar goals.

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Valley, AL finds a new use for old textile mills with the help of brownfields redevelopment

Langdale Mill in Valley, AL
The Langdale Mill in Valley, AL. Photo via The City of Valley, AL.

After operating for more than a hundred years, the Langdale and Riverdale textile mills were a central part of Valley, AL’s heritage and economy. With the help of a Brownfields grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Valley is working to make the former mills part of life in Valley once again.

The Langdale and Riverdale Mills were built in 1866 along the Chattahoochee River on the eastern edge of Alabama. The city that is now Valley, AL was built up around the mills, and they served as the economic heart of the area for over a century.

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Creating streets that work for everyone in Montevallo, AL

Montevallo, AL
On the campus of Montevallo, AL. Photo by Larry Miller, via Flickr.

This is a guest post written by Ryan Parker, of our coalition partner Conservation Alabama.

Montevallo, AL is preserving its unique blend of college culture and country charm by making intentional decisions about expansion and development.

The small town of 6,000 residents in the heart of Alabama has a vibrant downtown, a Greenway National Recreational Trail, three beautiful parks, an art gallery, and Alabama’s only public liberal arts college, the University of Montevallo.

Over the last several years the City and the University have worked together on projects to make downtown Montevallo an even better place to live and work. “The very best colleges in the country, most of them have lively, attractive downtowns,” said John Stewart III, president of the University of Montevallo. “We literally want Main Street and the campus to blend into one plan.”

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Multitude of Unfunded TIGER Grant Applications Points to Need for Continued Funding

The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program, provides a unique opportunity for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to invest in road, rail, transit, and port projects that promise to achieve national objectives. Now in its fourth round, the program remains critically underfunded. DOT received 703 applications, totaling $10.2 billion in requests. Out of those, 47 projects were selected to receive a total of close to $500 million.

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Partnership in the News: The Buzz Around TIGER 2012 – Part II

The TIGER grant program provides a unique opportunity for DOT to invest in road, rail, transit, and port projects that promise to achieve critical national objectives. Now in its 4th round, the TIGER 2012 grants are attracting media attention nation wide. Read Part I of this coverage.

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Partnership in the News: TIGER grant to repair streets, build sidewalks and bike lanes in Birmingham

In the new round of TIGER grants announced recently, $10 million will go to the City of Birmingham, Alabama to repair its streets and build new sidewalks, bike lanes, paths and pedestrian corridors. Improvements in Pratt City, hard-hit by a tornado last year, will be the main focus of the project, called “Roads to Recovery.”

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Community involvement, local leadership lead Notasulga, Alabama’s comeback

“I’ve been in this town 10 years, and I love this little town,” said Juanita Syljuberget, a resident of Notasulga, Alabama, who works as a contract and grant specialist at nearby Auburn University. “There’s nothing fancy about it, but it’s a quiet little place, and everyone is very nice.”

“But it’s going to dry up and go away unless we do something.”

The plight of Notasulga and its 850-some residents in rural Macon County is not unlike hundreds of other small communities across the country. Years of changing economic and development patterns limited growth opportunities, and the very nature of remote towns left local businesses and municipal services more vulnerable than their counterparts in busy urban centers.

But while the story of a “Small Town USA” grappling with tough financial decisions has been played out countless times nationwide and even in emotional books and films, there is something that sets Notasulga apart: strong local leadership.

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Birmingham, AL looks for ways to grow smarter

In 2000, the average resident of Birmingham, AL drove 34.8 miles each day, and only 2% of residents took transit or walked to work. Now, Birmingham is looking to change these trends and asked Smart Growth America for ideas about how to do it.

The Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham invited Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoff Anderson and LOCUS President Chris Leinberger to come to Birmingham last week to speak about smarter growth. In a joint presentation, Anderson and Leinberger discussed new trends in neighborhood design and what they could mean for Alabama.

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Smart growth news – December 27, 2011

Byram growth plan honored again
New Jersey Herald, December 23, 2011
Spanning from Maine to Washington state, the 15 chosen communities represent major cities, suburban communities, and rural towns, said Smart Growth America Vice President Roger Millar. The 15 selected communities exhibited the strongest interest in and need for smart growth tools, and demonstrated a commitment from local business, community and political leaders to implement local smart growth solutions, according to Millar.

Tacoma Chosen to Receive Smart Growth Assistance
Exit 133 (Wash.), December 23, 2011
Tacoma has been awarded a grant for free assistance from Smart Growth America. Tacoma is one of 15 communities selected out of a pool of close to 90 applications for the free assistance in implementing the principles of smart growth.

PlanMaryland: A Model for State-Level Smart Growth Planning
Streetsblog DC, December 22, 2011
Parris Glendening, former Maryland governor and smart growth leader explained his support for the plan in blog post for Smart Growth America: “I want my grandchildren to enjoy the beauty of Patapsco Valley State Park and the bustling downtown of historic Annapolis. I want them to be able to eat food grown in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and to find a job here. I want Maryland to be a place they will love.”

Top 10 Daily Digits from 2011
Governing, December 23, 2011
69,000: The number of bridges that need major repairs or complete replacement in the United States, according to a Transportation for America report. Reuters reported in March that the American Society of Civil Engineers has estimated that the nation needs to invest $17 billion yearly to improve current bridge conditions.

Housing the Echo Boomers – Next Big Real Estate Opportunity?
Forbes, December 21, 2011
[W]hether Echo Boomers rent or buy, they will need housing, and there are 80 million of them. In other words, recognizing their demographics and preferences will separate the winners from the losers and that has huge financial implications in a generation as large as the Echo Boomers.

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Toward a Healthier, More Livable Birmingham

A Complete Streets resolution recently adopted in Birmingham, Alabama will help the community become a more accessible, healthy, and vibrant community.

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