Downtown Eclectic on fast track for revitalization

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

ECLECTIC, AL (WSFA) - More than a month ago, the Eclectic mayor resigned amidst rumors the police department was closing.

Now, residents are waiting for the Governor to appoint a new leader.

Instead of focusing on the negative, many people are ready to redefine the town and it all comes down to what's going on downtown.

Step inside an Eclectic business and you'll most likely feel instant camaraderie.

Aubrey Hornsby thrives on it.

"I love the town, and I'm not unique in that respect," says Hornsby.

He isn't even a full time resident.  Hornsby commutes between Boulder, Colorado and Eclectic each month.

But it's his family ties and a belief in the town's unique character prompting him to invest in four empty downtown properties.

"I'm only one of maybe 20 people who have taken a stand here."

Hornsby says there are 30 downtown Eclectic properties, and in the last 2 years, 20 of them have either been bought, leased or renovated.

"Over the past difficult economic take 20 of those 30 and put them into play is maybe unprecedented in America right now," adds Hornsby.

Luis Gomez leases one of Hornsby's properties and opened the Mi Pueblito Grill just a few months ago.

In English, it means "My Village Grill"--a name Gomez hopes creates a sense of ownership for residents, spurring a greater downtown revival.

"I would love to see people coming to town, enjoying it," says Gomez.

Right now, that's the idea. Students at Auburn University drew a plan for Eclectic--a starting point for further brainstorming.  Hornsby says it could take years before its fully implemented.  But the process is already well underway as folks capture Eclectic's heart by revitalizing it first.

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