City receives Quality of Life award

Published 12:02 am Thursday, January 10, 2013

Andalusia made the cover of the quarterly Alabama Municipal Journal out this week, one of three communities receiving the 2013 Municipal Quality of Life Award.

“I am very pleased,” Mayor Earl Johnson said. “I’m holding the magazine and the front of it has a map of the state of Alabama, with a bright gold star over Andalusia.”

The Alabama League of Municipalities encourages cities across the state to enter its annual competition. Johnson said this year is the first time Andalusia has entered, as far as he knows. Andalusia received the award in the population division 5,001 to 12,000, and was recognized for his River Falls Street and AlaTex Monument Park work.

The city purchased the old AlaTex Textile Mill in 2009 and has since partnered with the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce to create a new chamber office and welcome center, as well as a national textile monument in tribute to the thousands who worked at the site and in textile mills all over the United States.

The $5 million project includes the River Falls Street renovation, as well as improvements to the AlaTex corporate headquarters and the adjacent property.

In addition, former AlaTex employees and members of their families contributed $40,000 for the purchase of monuments of the site.

The awards were designed by the League to recognize innovative projects that improve the quality of life for citizens. The award for small towns went to the Town of Priceville for the Morgan County Veterans Memorial and the award for large cities went to Talladega for Project Green, for a biodiesel project. Honorable mentions went to Montevallo for a bicycling program; Robertsdale for a Neighbors Helping Neighbors Utility Assistance program.

Johnson said the award will generate positive publicity for Andalusia.

“This journal goes out to literally tens of thousands of people around the country. It certainly goes out to thousands in Alabama. It will be seen by people who are studying these things to determine where is the action going on in this or that state,” he said. “Hopefully, it will spur their interest to come see us, spend time here, and locate a business or family here.”

Johnson said this is the first time Andalusia has applied for the award, although there are a number of projects which might have deserved the recognition.