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Imagine Huntsville Wants Community Input on the Future of Downtown Historic Buildings


City of Huntsville January 31, 2013
(Huntsville, AL) - A new topic is open for conversation on Imagine Huntsville (www.imaginehuntsville.com), Mayor Tommy Battle's online community forum for public input. For the month of February, Mayor Battle and Huntsville School Superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski are opening a discussion on the future of downtown's historic properties under their stewardship.

Downtown Huntsville is home to the majority of the City's historic resources. These resources include architectural structures that are iconic within the community, several historic schools, and hundreds of historic houses within three historic districts.

Two of the Huntsville City School's properties in downtown's historic districts are facing transition. East Clinton Elementary on Clinton Street is up for sale, and the Annie Merts Center, home to the Huntsville City School administration, may go on the market. On the downtown square, the old Regions Bank building is in need of renovations and a defined purpose.

"All of these structures contribute to the uniqueness of downtown," said Mayor Battle. "We have made a significant effort and investment to maintain downtown's character and historic integrity while still making smart choices in our redevelopment efforts and integration of new buildings. Downtown belongs to everyone, and we want to hear citizens ideas on some of our more significant properties."

School Superintendent Dr. Wardynski agrees. "It is often bittersweet for a school system to say goodbye to a facility that served generations of students well," he said. "There are lots of memories in these buildings, but they have fulfilled their purpose and are ready for new ones. We are eager to hear what ideas the community might present."

Mayor Battle says historic districts provide positive economic benefits for a city. They help stabilize property values, increase the tax base, expand tourism, and contribute to the revitalization of surrounding neighborhoods. The Huntsville Historic Preservation Commission helps ensure the integrity of these areas is protected, and the Commission must approve any renovations or alterations to the structures.

The public is invited to join the conversation at www.imaginehuntsville.com. Moderators for the conversation include Huntsville's Director of Economic Development Michelle Jordan, Director of Planning Management Marie Bostick, Huntsville Urban Planner Dennis Madsen, Huntsville City Schools Director of Community Engagement Rena Anderson, and local architect Frank Nola. At the end of February, a report with public comments will be presented to the Mayor Battle, the Huntsville City Council and the Huntsville City School administration.

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For more information, contact:

Kelly Cooper Schrimsher, Director of Communications, Office of the Mayor, City of Huntsville, 256-427-5006 (w), kelly.schrimsher@huntsvilleal.gov



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