2012 looks bright for city

Published 12:43 am Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The new year should hold exciting things for Andalusia, her mayor said last week.

“I’m as excited about Andalusia’s future as I have ever been and I think that 2012 will be a historic year for Andalusia in a lot of respects,” Mayor Earl Johnson said.

Pro-jects already underway – and some not yet an-nounced – are proof that others are as optimistic about the city’s future as he is, he said.

“First, you already see construction projects around that are related to the medical profession, medical treatment, and education,” he said. “There will be other major education projects in the future.

“You also will see more industrial and economic projects completed and new, high-paying jobs available to this area that have never been here before,” he said.

A number of projects already underway are slated for completion, among them the renovation of Johnson Park; the renovation of the former Alatex headquarters as the new home of the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce; a monument to textile workers; and the expansion of Vector Aerospace at the South Alabama Regional Airport.

In addition, a paving project – mostly in residential areas – is planned for the spring of the year, he said.

“We’ll also see the second half of the bypass project completed in 2012,” he said.

Other private business and commercial projects also will be started and completed, he said, citing a major renovation underway at PowerSouth, and a planned new apartment complex on Debro Hill, for which ground will be broken this summer.

The progress, he said, is the result of calculated risks.

“We began to make infrastructure improvements for our quality of life 10 to 12 years ago,” Johnson said. “Now, it’s paying off. If you plan hard, work hard, and take risks, it will.”

“We have been very fortunate that our revenue has stayed up,” he said. “We’ve worked hard to keep our costs controlled and still maintain services to people.”

At the same time, improvements have been made to Andalusia’s historic infrastructure – like River Falls Street, East Three Notch, Church Street and South Three Notch.

“Everywhere you look, there is investment, both private and commercial,” he said.

As a result, Andalusia is becoming the city many want to emulate.

“We hear it all the time,” he said. “People say, ‘We need to do what Andalusia is doing.’

“The public has confidence in Andalusia’s future and I truly do believe her best days are ahead,” he said.