Main Street Wetumpka announces the Tulotoma Snail Trail 'Placemaking' project
WETUMPKA, AL (WSFA) - Main Street Wetumpka announced it's creating a placemaking art history trail as part of its mission to revitalize downtown Wetumpka. It's called the Tulotoma Snail Trail.
Main Street Wetumpka hopes to use this project to generate foot traffic and bring attention to its downtown's beauty, both natural and man-made, as well as its one-of-a-kind history.
"We're a volunteer-led organization, so we look forward to working with a wide range of residents, businesses and organizations on this project and are confident it will be the perfect kick-off to a revitalized downtown," explains Jenny E. Stubbs, executive director of Main Street Wetumpka.
The Tulotoma Snail Trai will be the primary placemaking piece in a series of art history sculptures, murals and storytelling stations to help revitalize and improve the downtown Wetumpka experience. Placemaking is a community-led process which capitalizes on an area's assets and potential, and transforms existing public spaces into more beautified, usable spaces, allowing people to enjoy a higher quality of life.
The Tulotoma Magnifica, otherwise known as the Tulotoma river snail, is indigenous to the Coosa River that flows through the middle of Wetumpka's downtown. It's the first and only of its species to ever recover from the brink of extinction due to rebounding populations. After discovering its endangerment in the 1990's, the Clean Water Act was eventually enacted and helped to reinstitute greater water flow, saving the city's whitewater kayaking industry.
"We hope to begin the implementation process after we reach our May 22 deadline and, subsequently, have the first phase completed before our streetscape begins in the fall," said Stubbs. "It's an exciting time in downtown Wetumpka."
The implementation of the "snail trail" will be brought about in three phases. The first phase will include three locations.
"The first stop here is at the Elmore County Historical Society, also known as the Old Post Office. We like this space because it yearns to be beautified and cultivated, and so we're going to do that, and have the actual river snail river snail sculpture and the signage dedicated to the story of the river snail," Stubbs explained.
"Our second location, it's where you can see the fall line. In the state of Alabama, there's a line that goes across the whole state of Alabama, and there's a little dot right there that says Wetumpka, Alabama somewhere along that line. And that is where the Appalachian Foothills meet the Gulf Coastal Plain, so it's a very significant watershed and location in this state, and it just happens to be in our downtown. So we're going to have a snail sculpture there, we're going to cultivate this space, and tell the history of the fall line," continues Stubbs.
"And our crowning jewel, our third location, is going to be what's known as "The Alley". It sits right in the center of downtown, it's where a lumber yard used to sit," said Stubbs. "We're going to make it into a place where people can go hear acoustics, eat lunch, we'll have seating, we'll have a water feature that mimics the Coosa River, we have a lot of great plans."
This comprehensive project will celebrate the stories, both told and untold, and also highlight the city center's eye-pleasing architectural elements and natural beauty.
Main Street Wetumpka has been selected as one of 15 recipients of the “Cultivating Place in Main Street Challenge,” sponsored by the National Main Street Center (NMSC), Project for Public Spaces (PPS), and ioby.com. Main Street Wetumpka has until May 22 to raise funds for its downtown trail. To learn more about the project, visit https://www.ioby.org/project/tulotoma-snail-trail.
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