More than 5,000 new housing and commercial units approved in Athens
ATHENS, Ala. (WAFF) - Driving through Athens, almost every street you turn down has a new development.
“Our latest reports show that we have a little over 5,000 units approved that are in the process,” said Mayor of Athens Ronnie Marks.
So many that Mayor Marks says it can be tough to keep up with… Just last month, the city annexed around 300 acres into the city. Marks tells WAFF he is hoping to annex another 100 acres.
Archivist at Limestone County Archives Rebekah Davis grew up in Athens.
“When I was a teenager in Athens, we felt like the only thing to do in Athens was go to Huntsville.”
But now, the secrets out about her hometown.
“Especially in the last five years or so, how much this town has grown just sometimes larger than we can even handle. With infrastructure, traffic, and housing, we are just trying to keep up, but it has also brought a lot of positive things too.”
Mayor Marks says the city has grown by over 12,000 people in the last 12 years. With a current population of around 30,000 and counting.
“In the next three to five years, approximately between 35,000 and 40,000 in population.”
Growing in a smart way that takes public input.
“It is a fine balance. That is why you have to communicate with the folks and say we are moving forward, move with us. Let’s try to keep our quality of life, our parks, green spaces, as well as provide services for our citizens.”
Now, Davis doesn’t have to drive to Huntsville.
“There is so much vibrancy of art and entertainment community, and things families can do. You don’t have to go to Huntsville to have a good time anymore.”
One of the major developments Mayor Marks talked about is the 32-acre Pryor Park.
That development is expected to include an amphitheater, splash pad, and mixed-use buildings for residents. Marks says he hopes to break ground on Phase 1 to start sewer work in October.
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