New changes on the way for Capitol Heights

A sketch of the streetscape plan for Mt. Meigs Road.
A sketch of the streetscape plan for Mt. Meigs Road.

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - "We've raised a bunch of kids here."

Pictures on the entertainment center tell the story of Bill and Wanda Oswalt's 39 years in their house in Capitol Heights.

And while they love where they live, they admit the area's been going downhill for a while.

"We've got lots of businesses on Mt. Meigs Road that have closed in the last few years," says Wanda Oswalt.

News of a spruce up just a few feet from their front door has them hopeful that Capitol Heights can spring back to life.

"Anything you can do to Mt. Meigs Road would be an improvement," adds Oswalt.

Right now city leaders are waiting for approval from the Alabama Department of Transportation to start the $500,000 project that would clean up a one-mile stretch on Mt. Meigs Road--from Hopper to Arthur streets.

The project, modeled after a similar one on Bibb Street in downtown Montgomery would bring tree lined sidewalks and streetlights.

"It is an older area, but it is a historic area.  It has lots of great assets," says Deputy Mayor Jeff Downes.

Downes thinks the extra attention will only draw more attention to the area.

"I think it will be warm and inviting.  I think it will probably positively affect the property values of the residencies around," says Downes.

But not everyone feels change will help.

Robbie Lindsey owns Japanese Auto on Mt. Meigs.

He says the new plan takes away storefront space making it harder for customers to find a parking space and ultimately hurting his bottom line.

"Where there's no parking people are not coming. And they're not walking 20 miles to get to you.  People's looking to get in and out fast.  Everybody's in a hurry."

Downes says the city held public hearings about the project and drafted plans with the help of the community's input.

However, he says these plans aren't set in stone and there may be further opportunities to change them.

They plan to start construction in early 2010.

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