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Uniontown store’s success forces property upgrade

Although no one was anxious to bring a store to what seemed to be a high-theft area, Dollar General took a chance to bring business to Uniontown about three years ago and now needs more room.

Thus, the store is moving into the empty lot across from the Uniontown City Hall.

“They are moving to a bigger store to have more opportunity to grow. This store will be twice the size with more merchandise so that means our residents don’t have to travel outside of town to do their shopping,” Uniontown mayor Phillip White said, “We took that parking lot, which is known to have a lot of negative activity going on, and are turning it into something productive. I am trying to change the impression of the community.”

White said the idea of moving to a bigger building has been in the works for approximately two years, but was put on hold because of Hurricane Katrina.

“It was actually scheduled to be opened before Hurricane Katrina, but due to the rebuilding efforts, it was rescheduled,” he said.

And even though White doesn’t know what other shops the bigger and better Dollar General may bring, he said developers are currently seeking additional stores for the town.

In attempts to improve living conditions for Uniontown citizens, White is also working on numerous housing opportunities.

The city is in the process of designing a home ownership program in conjunction with Chris Samuels, a Mobile native who now plays for the Washington Redskins.

“I met his cousin a few years ago in Mobile and he said Chris was creating home ownership opportunities in the area,” White said. “We’re in the talking stages, but it’s definitely going to happen. We are looking for land to do an environmental analysis on. In the meantime, I want to find citizens who are interested in home ownership.”

The city is also currently destroying buildings that were in need of desperate attention to make room for new construction.

“We had a list of more than 300 pieces of property in the city that needed attention,” White said, “We gave the owners notice and if they didn’t do anything about it, it was in our hands.”

But even though those buildings are going down, others are going up. This week, construction will begin on County Road 1 to build a new apartment complex in the city for low-income families.

White said he expects for both the Dollar General and the apartment complex to be completed in 90-120 days, if the weather cooperates and all goes as planned.

The city also plans to use the Auburn Urban Studio students’ idea to build a park in the area on the side of City Hall that is currently occupied by trees and creatures.

“We are making it but it’s going to take time,” White said. “I’ve been a lot of places, but this is where I want to be. There’s no place like Uniontown.”