Prattville mayor has 'plan' to fill mostly vacant shopping district

So many people are wondering when, when will the vacant store fronts at the High Pointe in Prattville fill up? Andrea Lewis is one of them.

"It's a beautiful place and it's sad to see this many empty stores," said Lewis.

"I'm a little surprised because I come from a larger city and you don't see this," said Erin Hodgkinson, originally from Colorado but now lives in Prattville.

Prattville is running a debt of around $55 million, much of it due to borrowed money to help pave the way for High Pointe.

Prattville mayor Bill Gillespie who took over a few months ago says he has an informal plan to fill the empty spaces. That plan does not include tax breaks for the handful of potential businesses thinking about locating in High Pointe but the mayor declined to elaborate.

"The economy is the biggest bear we're fighting right now but gas prices are coming down and I do feel it will come back," said Gillespie.

Meantime, the fact there are many empty buildings does not mean business is bad for those who took a chance at High Pointe.

Bridgitte Pugh says she's actually doing 'okay.'

"Belk is busy and we get a lot of traffic from them so we're doing alright," said Pugh who owns Graveside Expressions.

Because Prattville is carrying a heavy debt load, the mayor and the city council increased the sales tax and fees for sanitation and wastewater.

Still, the mayor believes better days are ahead and that High Pointe will eventually reach its pinnacle.

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