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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
An historic road in Montgomery is undergoing some major changes.
It has been years in the making and is still in progress.
But some business owners on Fairview Avenue are beginning to see their neighborhood transform.
The city has been working on revitalizing the stretch of West Fairview Avenue from Court Street to I-65.
And the first step is sprucing up storefronts.
"That's gonna be for here or to go?" asks Pierce's Country Cooking owner Mama Pierce.
Serving up soul food is her specialty. She's been doing it for more than 30 years.
"Collard greens and corn bread."
Her daughter Betty Melson remembers helping out there as a young girl.
"My job was mainly to ring up at the register," says Melson.
But these days there's a little more pep in both the ladies' step.
"A lot of people say they just ride by to look. Because they know how much I was waiting and how much I wanted it, you know?"
Mama Pierce is talking about her restaurant's new look. We met her a couple years ago when the city's Fairview Avenue façade improvement plan was first introduced.
"I got new windows, new doors, new roof."
Her store and others around it have been transformed.
"We were waiting for it to happen and it did. And you know, I could have shouted because you know I was just glad. I'm happy," says Pierce.
The whole idea is to get the storefronts looking like new again in an effort to clean up Fairview Avenue.
The City of Montgomery spent $300,000 dollars of federal grant money to do it.
"It's a big change and it's lovely. I love it," says Melson.
The new facelift signifies a new beginning for Pierce's Country Cooking as Melson prepares to carry on the family business.
Thankfully the spruce up is doing more than just making Mama Pierce smile.
It's bringing more folks through the door, too.
"It needed to look better right in here. Because all the buildings were run down. But you know what? Everything now is looking good and everything is looking up," says Pierce.
There is still one more building to receive a facelift on Fairview Avenue.
In addition to the façade improvement plan, Genetta Park is currently under construction.
It's at the corner of Fairview and I-65.
The park will provide a place for recreation and also restoration of ground water collected from west and central Montgomery.
City crews are getting ready to start phase 2 of that project. After that city leaders hope to start work on a streetscape that would beautify Fairview's roadway.