Progressive decisions to benefit residents

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 3, 2008

&8220;When you look at a city, it&8217;s like reading the hopes, aspirations and pride of everyone who built it.&8221;

Hugh Newell Jacobsen

Alabaster&8217;s City Council recently took another step closer toward realizing the dream of creating a new center for the growing city.

In agreeing to de-annex some 20 acres in the city, the council has paved the way to trade that land with Cheney Lime for land needed to create an entrance to the new city center.

Putting puzzle pieces together to make such an ambitious project a reality is no small effort.

It&8217;s one that takes time, good planning and leadership.

Alabaster can call itself lucky to have all three in its effort to create this new center.

So, what will Alabaster&8217;s new city center ultimately be like?

At its core, the project is focused on making the town more people-friendly through the creation of what will essentially be a new downtown.

The principals of new urbanism, a movement to make communities more walkable so that residents can live, play, work, etc. all in one area, are being followed as the center is developed.

Things like wide, walkable sidewalks, buildings where owners make their living downstairs and live upstairs, green spaces and people-friendly building sizes will make the center a comfortable space for residents and promise to help move the city&8217;s explosive growth forward.

Just look at other cities that have similar mixed-use communities to bring neighbors out of their homes. Places like Mt Laurel and communities in Huntsville have done the same, providing residents with a stronger sense of community in the midst of growth and busy lives.

Anchoring Alabaster&8217;s new center will be public improvements that will include a new City Hall, a library and possibly a recreation center.

Mixed-use buildings, townhouses/brownstones and single- family homes are also planned to be major components of the project.

Alabaster&8217;s City Center project promises to become one of Shelby County&8217;s shinning stars and will no doubt help provide expanded city services in a wonderful new space.

City leaders should be applauded for taking the steps to make this project a reality and for having the vision to dream of what could be rather than simply being satisfied with what is.