Dexter Avenue revitalization one step closer

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - "The value of these buildings is their historic character, the way they're going to look when we take off some of this stuff that's covering them up," says Montgomery City Planner, Ken Groves.

There's no denying much of Dexter Avenue needs a makeover.  That's exactly the city's plan for 11 dilapidated buildings.

"Many Montgomerians can remember when this was a thriving commercial district," says Groves.

He adds Mayor Todd Strange isn't wasting any time bringing it back to life.

But clean-up comes first.

"There's water damage, some of them have mold. They all have paint that contains lead.  They all have asbestos containing construction materials, but those are things that are relatively common."

Groves says in the scheme of things, the damage isn't too severe.

The reports show what's actually inside the buildings.

"This is 39 Dexter Avenue.  It has one of the obvious mold conditions. Here are some containers that have a substance of unknown nature," says Groves.

But just knowing this area is on the radar has long-time Montgomery resident Constance Freeman anxious for a new Dexter Avenue.

"I think this is great for the city."

She remembers the good old days and is ready to see them again.

"I think it says something about the city, about the pride in this city. I think it's a step in the right direction."

Groves agrees the clean-up is only the beginning.

"The idea is to take advantage of that unique character...our good old historical bones, and that's a rare asset that's well worth preserving."

Groves says we could see the clean-up start right away.  Then, they'll open the project for developer's ideas and start on the sidewalk revitalization.

The city expects to pay $2.8 million dollars for the 11 properties.

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