Sheffield is a small town getting a revitalization - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

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Sheffield is a small town getting a revitalization

(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)
SHEFFIELD, AL (WAFF) -

The town of Sheffield was built in the 1880s and for the past few decades it looked like the downtown area was dying. With the diversion of traffic and malls going up, downtown was dismal.

But Susanne Hamlin, president and CEO of the Colbert County Convention and Visitor's Bureau, said the area “began to come back” about three or four years ago.

The town is home to between 8,000 and 9,000 people. And they have rediscovered this area.

"We have shops of all kinds you can buy just about anything you need in Sheffield today, which is great. And now the night life is coming to Sheffield,” Hamlin said.

Construction is everywhere and apparently so is growth. Hamlin said because Sheffield needed to come back, it has really put a lot of finances and efforts into developing the town."

There are shops with clothing and other items which you won’t find at your local mall. Many shops rival Gatlinburg for one-of-a-kind items.

Mayor Ian Sanford says it just took a leap of faith for people who wanted to invest in their hometown, including one of his buddies. He said his friend took a chance and bought two adjoining buildings and fixed them up and put up four very nice apartments upstairs.

"We get calls from people, away from here, saying I want in on this,” Sanford said.

So many of these apartments have a balcony. And on nights when they have music, they get a free concert.

Some business owners say the expansion has been prosperous. Laquita Logan has five businesses downtown, including Zoey Bells, Briley's Clothing, the Rock, Salon 310 and Sheffield Hardware.

Danny Hardeman has seven buildings and is working on turning a firehouse in to four loft-style apartments and two businesses on the bottom. He said when he first started on this venture, just about every building downtown was empty. Hardeman said most of the buildings he owns have restaurants at the street level and apartments on top.

For most, it's a matter of hometown pride. And the welcome mat is out.

"We’ve been down for too long a period of time and to see it come back there is a renewed spirit and attitude," Sanford said.

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