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Falkville looks at downtown revitalization

A NARCOG representative addressed the Falkville Town Council during a work session Tues., May 26, about working with them on a downtown revitalization plan with funding from a Community Development Block Grant.

Robbie Cantrell said Falkville would meet most of the qualification guidelines for a grant to cover an eight-task revitalization plan. The plan would take a year to complete, and further funding would have to be organized to put the plan into action.

The plan itself would be $30,000 total with $24,000 funded by a CDBG. The remaining $6,000 would be a local match split between NARCOG funding $4,000 and the town funding $2,000, which is 8 percent of the total.

The deadline for these CDBGs is June 15. A public hearing would be necessary before the town could apply for the grant.

This meeting was initiated by NARCOG, but the council has been thinking about downtown revitalization for some time.

“We have thought about this for a while now,” Councilman David Carroll said. “Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood drew us up a sketch at one time, but this plan would be detailed and let us know how to put it into place. It’s a great opportunity, but we don’t need to spend money on a plan and then not have a way to fund the actual project. We would have to look into our funding options first, and our Culver and Buster Road projects are top priority right now.”

Mayor Bob Ramey said he liked the idea of a plan as well but wanted to know more about the project funding options.

“At a recent municipal conference they encouraged us to work on our downtown area if we had one,” Ramey said. “Businesses are really looking for homey downtown areas right now. This is something we should give more thought.”

Cantrell said Falkville is one of only seven out of 23 local communities that have a downtown area. He also said there are grants that could apply to the revitalization project, but the plan would determine for which grants the town would qualify.

In other business, the council heard a citizen complaint about drivers on Robinson Creek Road near the Falkville schools. Barbara Parks said she had lived near the sharp curve on Robinson Creek Road for about three weeks now and had seen at least three near-accidents in the curve.

She said she did not know the solution to the problem, but she would like the council to give it thought. The council said they would try to address the problem with a sign signifying a dangerous curve ahead. The council would not be allowed to lower the speed limit without first having a professional traffic study conducted in the area.

The council also looked over their budget summary during their work session. Town Clerk Dawn Estes went over the summary and explained that Falkville is currently $180,000 in the black. Over the last year, they have seen dramatic increases in revenue from business licenses and sales taxes.

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