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Mayor Bowling: ‘Decatur is open for business’

First elected in 2016, Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling is the first mayor to win reelection in Decatur since 1994, creating stability in a time of tremendous growth for the city.

“Our revenues have grown, our population has continued to grow, and we’re seeing growth in our industrial base expansions,” says Bowling in an interview with 256 Today.

According to the city, the Decatur Planning Commission reviewed applications for over 600 new residential lots for everything from townhomes to estate lots in 2021.

Bowling points to One Decatur, a city-wide plan for Decatur that reflects community values and aspirations, as a tremendous success for the city. One Decatur began in 2016 and allows the community to define its long-term vision and goals.

“This is community-based,” says Bowling. “The community came together to say what they wanted to see in the coming years for the city of Decatur.”

One Decatur has now adopted its long-range plan that a committee oversees. Bowling says one of the major efforts highlighted by One Decatur is a redevelopment of “the city’s foyer.” The project seeks to improve one of the primary entry points into Decatur, the 6th Avenue corridor.

“We are working on about a nine-million Corridor Improvement Plan for 6th Avenue and Highway 31,” Bowling continues. “We expect to see a design in about 10 months followed by public hearings.”

The improvements continue into Downtown Decatur. A luxury townhome development is set to open later this year on Bank Street, while the new Alabama Center for the Arts dormitory is also under construction in the downtown area. The Alabama Center for the Arts is a partnership between Calhoun Community College, Athens State University and the City of Decatur for students pursuing a career in the arts industry. An 80-room Fairfield Inn and a new parking deck will also be added at Moulton Street and 2nd Avenue.

Mayor Tab Bowling/Facebook

Bowling says big projects are also coming to other parts of the city.

“We just announced a location for 30 million-plus recreation center that will go at Wilson Morgan Park with council approval. It will include a 25-meter, 10-lane aquatic center.  It will be a very state-of-the-art recreation center,” he advises.

Also coming to the city is a new overpass to one of Decatur’s premier sites in Limestone County.

“We’ve received a 14-million-dollar grant for an overpass to connect the north and south side of Highway 20 to allow an easy and safe access to the site,” Bowling says of a site that he calls a blank canvas.

He adds, “I expect something very big to land there.”

The estimated 300-foot overpass will be located near the former location of Apple Lane Farms and two now-closed gas stations.

Despite all the growth and development, one thing that hasn’t changed is Decatur’s friendly, hometown feel.

“Hospitality is in our DNA.” Bowling says, “It is fun to be in Decatur. I enjoy being with our residents, we enjoy being in our city and welcoming visitors.”

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