Andalusia continues effort to revive downtown, launches partnership with WSFA

Andalusia continues effort to revive downtown, launches partnership with WSFA
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

ANDALUSIA, AL (WSFA) - The City of Andalusia and WSFA 12 news officially launched a new weather camera Monday. The new camera sits on top of the historic First National Bank Building downtown Andalusia.

We've been working really hard the last 10 years or so to revitalize our downtown area," said Andalusia Mayor Earl Thompson. "WSFA's weather camera on top of the old bank building downtown is going to be a great benefit, not only to WSFA TV but to the citizens of Covington County and all of South Alabama."

As part of its efforts to revive downtown, the Andalusia City Council created its first Capital Cooperative Improvement District last year, to bring businesses to the downtown area which would, in turn, bring people to the area.

The City of Andalusia is already seeing results.

"We signed long-term leases with Big Mike's Steak and Seafood. Big Mike's, you may have heard, was named best steak by the Alabama Cattlemen's Association, so it's really huge for us to land a business of that caliber in downtown Andalusia," City Clerk John Thompson explained. "At the same time, we signed a long-term lease with Clark Theater, and totally renovated the classic downtown theater on the square and since then, we've seen other businesses, CJ's Grill has opened down the street, Walker's is a classic downtown venue that has totally redone their façade"

The "Square" downtown is also home to the fourth annual CandyLand Christmas event, which has outgrown its original venue.

"I came up with the idea that I wanted these little playhouses on the square and snow machines, just like a little Christmas Village, and the business really jumped on board," Chrissie Schubert Duffy explains how "CandyLand" began.

"We have 23 playhouses that are complete now, with snow, ice skating and ice tubing." It's now bigger than its original location can hold. "The event is actually in two different venues," Duffy said the snow show, the light show and one of the Christmas Villages is in the downtown square.

"Four blocks down, at Springdale, which is another City park right across from the post office, that's where you'll find ice skating, snow tubing, we have a massive snow tubing hill, another cottage village for the kids to play with, a train for the kids to ride, everything is completely free, no admission. It's $5 to rent ice skates and $5 to rent a snow tube." Duffy said.

Southern Living named Andalusia it's "Top small town in the south for Christmas." CandyLand opens to the public Dec. 1st.

The new WSFA 12 news weather camera will be able to look down at all of these events. "We think you'll have one of the best shots in Alabama as far as weather coming in and going across the state," Johnson said. "We have a lot of weather that comes through here on the way to Montgomery and Prattville, and Auburn and Opelika, and Tuskegee. Most of it comes through here before it gets there."

WSFA 12 News is looking forward to a great partnership with the City of Andalusia.

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