Florala’s new goals: More tourism, better appearance, new business every year

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A committee of 16 people, including members of the new administration, have been busy crafting a strategic plan for the City of Florala, which the council expects to adopt at its next meeting.

Mayor Terry Holley said the group started with a plan written about eight years ago, and has updated and revised it.

“We took 16 pages and pared it down to six pages,” Holley said. “We want realistic goals that we can accomplish.”

The goals include adding one new business per year; improving the park; growing the tourist economy, and improving the abatement process and, in turn, the appearance.

Committee members have divided a list of 67 existing businesses, he said. Business owners will be contacted and asked for their input.

But he’s not waiting for the plan to be completed for the problems to be addressed, he said. One of the areas of concern was potholes, and city and utilities workers have repaired a total of 90 in the past two months, he said.

City attorney Meredith Peters is working with the council to draft an abatement policy, and the council will begin addressing abandoned buildings, as well as those in disrepair.

“We are going to ask people who own vacant buildings downtown if they would be willing to lease the buildings at a discounted rate to get more businesses in here,” he said.

The plan also includes adding restroom facilities at the Lake Jackson boat ramp, improving the camping area to include a dog park and a playground for children.

Holley said the city also will focus on promoting the tow biggest local events – Cancer Freeze and the Masonic Celebration – and will develop a web site with information about all local businesses.

Other members of the strategic planning committee are Shelia M. Anderson, Joe Elmore Barnes, Jeff Burleson, Michael Cheshire, John Coverstone, Deborah Inabinett, Justin Jackson, Sue Mathis, Samantha McDaniel, Josh Menge, Silvia Wallace-Patton, Evan Robbins, Gayle Robbins, Linda Russell and Buddy York.

On Tuesday, the council:

  • Agreed to provide $2,500 to the drug task force.
  • Agreed to purchase a computer for the mayor’s office, and for the RV park.
  • Approved the use of the Rodney J. Evans building and the park area of Lake Jackson for Cancer Freeze on Feb. 4.
  • Adopted a resolution recognizing Lance Price, a retired ABC agent who was working with the Florala Police Department when he died suddenly of a heart attack in December.