The outlook for 2021 looks promising

FROM STAFF REPORTS / Editorial 

Shelby County municipalities are hitting the ground running early in 2021, picking up with plans set in motion by previous council members and mayors.

While many of the same city officials are in place, there are several new representatives in your city, and so far, it looks as if they are on the path to continuing the growth forward.

But this year is going to be unlike any we have seen whether councils are still intact or new members are in place.

This year, cities across Shelby County are having to recover from an economic downturn unlike any we’ve seen due to the outbreak of COVID-19 during 2020.

The virus is still very much a reality early in 2021, and some areas are seeing the worst outbreaks they have seen since the virus began in 2020.

Now, plans are being made on how to not only prevent the spread of the virus but also recover economically.

How do you grow businesses and move your city forward when many people are still sheltering at home and worried about going out in public?

Throw in a new President of the United States Joe Biden taking over the country’s leadership and not knowing how he will handle the virus and restrictions, and you’ve got plenty on your plate to balance.

But remarkably, following the downturn of the economy for several months last year, the unemployment rate has improved drastically in recent months.

Thanks to a mask mandate in place and a vaccine now being offered in different phases, with the goal of it being offered to everyone by this summer, jobs have started to hire again because people are more comfortable going out.

Places like Helena and Chelsea both recently shared their plans for the year, and both are focused on infrastructure as well as the future of businesses in their city.

As two of the fastest growing cities in the state, they each have big projects on the horizon.

Helena has two different retail developments coming this year, which will feature a Chick-fil-A, an AT&T store, a Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers and a Dunkin’. In addition to that, the city has had several businesses open recently or announce an opening.

Chelsea is adding a new business park called Foothills Business Park which will be located next to Station 31 just off the U.S. 280 corridor and will feature 7-8 acres of land available for businesses. The city also has a lot of undeveloped land and arguably more potential for growth than any other city in the county.

Those are just two examples of the growth coming in the county as cities like Calera and Montevallo continue to grow as well.

In 2021, there is plenty of reason for optimism in Shelby County.

We’ve already come together to support businesses during the virus; now, we can work to get the economy back to being one of the best in the state.