Lynching memorial to catalyze growth in surrounding historic neighborhoods

Lynching memorial to catalyze growth in surrounding historic neighborhoods
The memorial is bringing residents to a part of town that has been forgotten or overlooked, especially for residential opportunities.

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The National Memorial for Peace and Justice is creating a conversation about healing that starts in Montgomery and anchoring redevelopment in some of the city's oldest neighborhoods. In fact, the memorial replaced the blighted and crime-riddled Caroline Court Apartments.

City of Montgomery Senior Development Manager Lois Cortell knows these neighborhoods like the back of her hand and has worked with EJI from the ground level.

"This development will be another major catalytic effort to continue the revitalization," Cortell said.

The memorial is bringing residents to a part of town that has been forgotten or overlooked, especially for residential opportunities.

"We're not quite certain how the traffic patterns will work," Cortell said of the attraction to the memorial spilling over to adjacent neighborhoods. "Cottage Hill is one of the earliest settled areas, there's some gorgeous old homes and residents here have been living here a long time and have been working hard to improve and stabilize their neighborhood.  I think they are excited to have folks coming in and seeing the beauty of their homes."

Cortell sees great opportunity for retail growth as well.

"This part of downtown is on the cusp," Cortell stated.  "It's blocks away from Church Street, Montgomery Street, Bibb Street, and because downtown is smart code zoned, there's an opportunity for ground floor commercial."

The state is also joining the movement to redevelop downtown, approving the new alternative economic development program, Opportunity Zones, established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

"Almost all of downtown is part of the Opportunity Zone area," explained Cortell. "There's now a tax incentive available for investors who want to commit and make this area better."

Copyright 2018 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.