Montgomery releases “block-by-block” draft of downtown development plan

Montgomery
Steps in front of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church – Montgomery (Pat Byington/The Bama Buzz)

Montgomery, Alabama’s Capital City, has released a new draft plan for downtown.

The block-by-block action plan is intended to catalyze economic growth not only for downtown, but for the entire region. 

Led by the Montgomery Chamber, City of Montgomery and the Montgomery County Commission, the Downtown Plan Draft is now available online at envisionmontgomery2040.org/downtown and montgomerychamber.com

The public is encouraged to review the plan and make comments on the envision website by October 31st.

Intentional Development

Montgomery
Court Square Fountain in Downtown Montgomery. (Pat Byington/The Bama Buzz)

“As we’ve seen in other cities and communities, intentional development of Montgomery’s downtown can change the course of economic development and quality of place for many years to come,” said Cedric Campbell, the Chamber’s Chairman of the Board and the Chairman of the Downtown Steering Committee.

Work began on a new vision and action plan for downtown Montgomery in August 2021. The international firm Interface Studio was selected to develop the plan.

Focus on Tourism

Montgomery has experienced tremendous growth in tourism over the past few years, thanks to the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Approximately 25,000 visitors visit the attractions monthly.

In 2023, the city will also open a Whitewater Park on the banks of the Alabama River.

“This new action plan for downtown is vital and will totally transform the trajectory for tourism in our city and the region,” stated Ron Simmons, the Chamber’s Chief Officer, Destination and Community Development in their news release about the plan. “Now, more than ever, this strategic plan is crucial as we continue to develop new tourism products and services and only works in our favor to truly enhance the experiences, by providing meaningful engagement opportunities for both visitors and residents.”

10 Priorities

Ten priorities are listed in the 94 page, easy to read plan, that includes not only detailed descriptions, but also timelines.

Here is the list:

  1. Create a better and safer visitor experience. (Short term: 0-1 years)
  2. Create a downtown Business Improvement District and a citywide Tourism Improvement District. (Short term: 0-1 years)
  3. Pursue national park status. (Long term: 5+ years)
  4. Bring new attractions downtown. (Long term: 5+ years) 
  5. Leverage existing assets. (Medium term: 1-5 years) 
  6. Tell the city’s full story to a wide range of audiences. (Short term: 0-1 years).
  7. Improve Court Square. (Medium term: 1-5 years) 
  8. Ramp up temporary events and programming. (Short term: 0-1 years) 
  9. Improve highway entrances to downtown. (Long term: 5+ years) 
  10. Take short-term action to welcome visitors to downtown. (Short term: 0-1 years) 

Comment By October 31st

If you haven’t been to downtown Montgomery lately, you will find a number of surprises ranging from murals, restaurants and coffee shops. 

Check out the new draft plan and make a comment. Be a part of supporting Alabama’s historic Capital City’s growth.

Do you have a favorite new attraction in Montgomery? Let us know by tagging The Bama Buzz on social media at @bamabuzz 

Pat Byington
Pat Byington
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