Building on history: Alabaster unveils Siluria Mill District

Published 9:15 pm Thursday, March 14, 2024

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The city of Alabaster has officially denoted its city center as the Siluria Mill District with a new sign in honor of the old Siluria textile mill.

Alabaster installed a new sign at the intersection of Highway 119 and 11th Ave. Southwest on Monday, March 4 officially designating the area at the center of city’s latest projects as the Siluria Mill District.

“With this vision, we want there to be something for everyone and I think once everything is complete, our residents are going to feel that,” said Sophie Martin, Alabaster City Council president. “There’s going to be something there for them that they can enjoy, that they can take advantage of and best of all, they are really going to see their tax dollars at work and the result of those tax dollars.”

The Siluria Mill District now includes the Alabaster Police Department, city hall, senior center, Municipal Green, multiple locally owned businesses and the upcoming amphitheater. Further down the road, it is also joined by Larry Simmons Stadium, Jim “Peanut” Davenport Baseball Stadium and will eventually include the city’s new recreation center and library once it is completed at the intersection of Hwy 119 and Thompson Road.

“From Buck Creek Trail, all the way down to Thompson Road and up to Warrior Park is about 160 acres and that’s really the area that we envision our community being able to park their car, catch a ball game, visit a city rec center, visit restaurants, walk the Buck Creek Trail—just a gathering place, a city center—and it’s exciting to see it coming to fruition,” Alabaster Mayor Scott Brakefield said.

In 2021, the city of Alabaster unveiled its new logo featuring the old Siluria mill water tower and the tagline Alabaster City Unlimited. Since then, the city has restored the historic landmark to its former glory and further invested into the Municipal Green upon which it stands. The designation of the Siluria Mill District stands as another nod to the area’s history.

The city of Alabaster was relegated to U.S. Highway 31 until the Siluria community, where city hall is currently located, requested to be annexed into Alabaster.

“It’s been exciting to see it grow because our first building down here—the city purchased the old textile mill and tore down what was left at the mill and so we had a blank canvas down here,” Brakefield said.

The first steps toward creating the city center began with the establishment of the Alabaster Senior Activity Center until continued growth led to city moving Alabaster City Hall.

Martin commented on the journey the city has taken to get this far and what it’s like to finally see the dream start to take shape.

“It is so rewarding to know all the time and the hard work that has gone into making this happen is finally coming into fruition because not only is it going to make a huge difference now but it is going to make a huge difference for years to come,” she said.

Councilmember Jamie Cole said this is only the beginning of the vision for the Siluria Mill District.

“It’s really exciting,” he said. “The more we look at it, the more we see it, the more it starts to come alive and (we) see that vision become real. I think folks are really going to be excited to see it and (to continue to) grow along with us.”

Cole also serves as a vice president on the Alabaster Arts Council and highlighted the upcoming stage and amphitheater which will be located on the district’s Municipal Green and will serve as a key venue for the city’s annual festivities.

“That’s a piece of it that is really exciting for me,” he said. “I’m kind of the artsy guy on the Council, so it’s fun to see that piece served in the bigger vision.”

One of the largest projects set for the future of the Siluria Mill District is the addition of the Alabaster Civic Complex which was revealed in November of 2023. The complex will feature multiple long-awaited amenities including a new library, recreation center, multiple gymnasiums, water features and a commercial area.

Brakefield said that the new complex will likely not be done for another three-and-a-half years.

“I just wish we could snap our fingers and it’d be done but it’s going to take a little while,” Brakefield said.

Martin expressed her gratitude for all of those who have helped to make the city’s vision for the Siluria Mill District possible.

“I want to thank the mayor and the city employees of Alabaster and the Council for all of their support and their patience and all the great ideas that were brought to the table so this could become a reality for our residents,” she said.