Hanceville welcomes NARCOG and Main Street Alabama; Red Cross relocating from Cullman

W.C. Mann

The Hanceville City Hall conference room was nearly full for the presentation.

HANCEVILLE – Before its regular meeting Thursday evening, the Hanceville City Council welcomed Joey Hester from the North Central Alabama Council of Governments (NARCOG) and Trisha Black from Main Street Alabama (MSA), who talked about what those two organizations’ programs, along with Alabama Communities of Excellence (ACE) accreditation, will do for the city in coming years.

NARCOG covers several north Alabama counties, and offers assistance with economic development for local municipalities.  ACE also focuses on citywide municipal development, while MSA specifically targets downtown revitalization.  The three will work together, according to Hester, to perform a community assessment and develop a long-term strategic plan for economic growth in Hanceville.  Each program requires a lengthy application process and strong municipal commitment; the representatives congratulated the City on its achievement so far.

Black presented a four-point plan for downtown revitalization used by MSA for the last 35 years:

  1. Organization- gathering financial and personnel resources
  2. Design- treatment of the physical plants of buildings and streetscapes, along with the use of public art, to create fun and attractive downtown environments
  3. Economic Vitality- thinking about the use of downtown buildings and properties to build up the local economy
  4. Promotion- bringing people into the downtown district through special events

“If you can get all of those points working when you’re thinking about your downtown district,” said Black, “then you’re going to have success.  It has helped over 2,000 communities nationwide.”

In the spirit of municipal revitalization, the council later approved a change to its ordinance 615, that governs the treatment and disposal of dilapidated structures in the city.  The current ordinance gives property owners 45 days to present a plan for site improvement to the city after a warning is issued; the change will reduce that time to seven days.  Mayor Kenneth Nail presented a slideshow indicating several derelict local houses and outbuildings, and showed how city crews had taken down such structures with owners’ permission, to leave the properties cleaner and more attractive.

The council also approved a rental agreement which will allow the Red Cross office in Cullman to relocate to Hanceville.  The organization’s local branch has to leave its current office location by the end of May.  The council’s agreement will allow the Red Cross to use two rooms in Hanceville’s civic center.  Nail noted that, in the event of another disaster like that of April 2011, Hanceville will benefit from having a Red Cross office already operating in the city’s primary shelter facility. 

The Hanceville City Council meets in Hanceville City Hall on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month at 6:30 p.m. with work sessions at 6 p.m.  The public is invited to attend.

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