AU students display plans for Uniontown

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 25, 2005

UNIONTOWN – After spending a weekend in town, students from Auburn University’s Center for Architecture and Urban Studies have drafted blueprints to an improved Uniontown.

Since Friday, seven thesis students under the direction of their professor, Cheryl Morgan, traveled the city to look at traffic patterns and how people move through the city and presented their ideas to residents Sunday at City Hall.

“We also wanted to look for reason for people to come to Uniontown,” Ryan Vernon, student, said.

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According to Dustin Shue, student, the group will take the community’s feedback to the initial plans, go back to their studio in Birmingham and then come back November 17 at 6:30 p.m. to the Uniontown recreation center with a set of more detailed final plans.

At Thursday night’s meeting, Uniontown residents created a wish list for the city. The list included such items as activity centers for senior citizens and the city’s youth, community college, more job opportunities, a recreational park with lake, more shopping areas and family restaurants, and a welcome center / museum to display the city’s history and famous faces.

According to Shue, the students were able to incorporate many of the items into their plans and most of it could fit in the downtown area.

The plans also relocated Uniontown’s fire department and police station onto Highway 80.

“People need to be able to see where they can go if they need help,” Vernon said.

The drawings also included lodging and more housing near downtown and Pitt’s Folly.

“Uniontown was already thinking about low-income housing so we are just trying to show them how to do it more efficiently,” Shue said.

Both students agree the community is doing a great job contributing ideas.

“I give the residents a big thumbs up,” Vernon said. “I am just so excited someone cares.”

Cynthia Maddox, member of Uniontown’s Concerned Citizens, said the plans were excellent.

“They really focused on things that would not only be asthetically pleasing to incoming businesses, but on things that would be pleasing to residents and visitors,” Maddox said.

If she could change something about the project, Maddox said she would only alter one thing.

“If I could change anything, it would be for the plans to come to life overnight,” she said. “But now we are just hoping for the money to come through.”

Vernon said that when it comes to getting grants, the biggest thing is to show that residents want this to happen and they want to keep it up.

“Some of this stuff can happen in the next ten years and some of it will take 20-25 years because it’ll take a while to distribute the plans to investors and apply for grants and stuff,” Shue said.

According to Maddox, Uniontown used to be the center with its “gorgeous Greyhound bus station.” Unfortunately, the station and other historic spots have dwindled to ruins.

“We used to be the connecting point for West Alabama, but we’re going to become it again,” Maddox said. “I can see it.”