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Downtown Revitalization: Uniontown sprucing up its downtown

UNIONTOWN – The asphalt was still too hot to stand on for any length of time as Assistant Project Engineer Roy Averette, an Alabama Department of Transportation consultant, surveyed the scene along Alabama Highway 61 in downtown Uniontown.

“It’s a milling and resurfacing project from Highway 80 up to the Newbern city limits,” he said, a little sweat running down his forehead.

Contactors from Asphalt Contractors of Montgomery and their subcontractor Delta Milling of Leesburg, Fla., have begun resurfacing the highway under $1.3 million state contract.

Although the contract covers a little more than eight miles of the highway, Uniontown Mayor Phillip White said the project, which repaves the town’s main downtown thoroughfare, would fall hand-in-hand with an effort to revitalize the downtown business district.

“It lines up with our revitalization,” he said. “Uniontown has one of the few downtowns that are still progressive. A lot of

people still shop in our dowtown.”

The city of 3,500 people is currently advertising a request for bids on what is anticipated to be a $218,000 revitalization project that includes new sidewalks, lighting and landscaping for the business district.

“In a lot of areas, businesses are moving out to the highway and most downtowns are drying up, but we’re really progressive here,” he said.

Uniontown’s downtown business district boasts two drug stores, a furniture store, a bank, an accounting firm and a couple of grocery stores among other businesses.

“There’s still plenty of room for growth,” White said. “It’s an ideal area for locating a business.”

Keeping the shopping dollar at home is the key for the mayor, who said the city’s trade area includes about 10,000 consumers.

“We’re in need of a ladies’ clothing store, but people are having to travel 20 or 30 miles to buy some items,” he said. “If a lady could buy her clothing locally, they would.”

Making the downtown area more attractive to both shoppers and businesses, White said, was the inspiration for the revitalization project.

John Stevens, the city’s consulting engineer with Sentell Engineering, said the bids for the downtown project would be opened on June 10.

The bulk of the funding – $174,522.74 – is being provided through a state grant. Uniontown will match $42,600.