Andalusia dedicates special, refurbished street

ANDALUSIA, AL (WSFA) - On the surface you wouldn't think a newly-paved road would be a big deal. It was in Andalusia Thursday morning.

The mayor had the police stop traffic, the chief holding one end of the ribbon while city leaders and the business community cut the ceremonial ribbon on River Falls Street.

"This is a big day for our community," said Mayor Johnson.

The end of an 11 month, $5 million construction job that included new sewer lines underneath, new lighting, sidewalks and a slightly wider street.

The mayor says there is no doubt this will be the 'gateway' of good things to come.

"What I have is experience and I know the private sector follows public investments," said the mayor.

It appears for now Johnson is right on the money.

John Tisdale owns Covington Mall which faces River Falls Street. Tisdale is drawing up plans to spend $2 million of his own money to renovate the mall, a firm decision he made once he saw the end result.

"I closed on the property 60 days ago so the timing is good and what I'll do will mesh with what they did," said Tisdale.

On the other hand it hasn't always been a smooth ride for Cathy Brown's motorcycle business. Brown admitted she had her doubts whether re-doing the street was the right thing to do. Brown's business plummeted a whopping 60% in a matter of weeks during construction.

"After seeing all that dirt and mud and no street I had my doubts but we'll make that up and now that they're finished we're proud of it," said Brown.

City leaders say this is the first time in 75 years the road has had any major upgrades.

"The sewer system was in terrible shape," said Johnson.

Mayor Johnson concedes not everybody feels this was money well-spent but he's confident the path he took will prove him right.

The $5 million came from three sources; the Alabama Department of Transportation, the city of Andalusia and the city's utilities board.

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