Spotlight on Butler, Covington, Crenshaw & Lowndes: Community Development

Downtown revitalizations, career academy and school upgrades, broadband expansion and park amenities are underway in these four counties

Real Pit Bar-B-Q in Greenville. Photo courtesy of Alabama Tourism Department/Art Meripol.

Butler County

Butler County built a new sheriff’s office building that opened in 2021.

Recently the Butler County career academy received a $65,000 RCND grant to purchase supplies and equipment.

In Greenville, a new mental health facility for incarcerated individuals opened in early 2021. The new facility will serve as an alternative for jailing people with mental illness and help them get professional help. The facility is named after current Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon and retired probate judge Steve Norman.

The Alabama Department of Transportation is improving U.S. 31 and Dogwood Trail in the city, and the Greenville Dog Park recently opened.

In Georgiana, there is a new mayor, Franklin Betterton. The historic Georgiana Opry House reopened recently, and the city also had one of its historic building murals restored.

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The town of McKenzie received a $350,000 CBD grant for water line replacement and a paving project.


Lowndes County

Lowndes County is working toward providing more broadband. To that end, the Hayneville Telephone Co. has been awarded three Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs grants and one Rural Utilities Service Reconnect Grant to help build a fiber network to hundreds of Lowndes County citizens who have not had high-speed internet. The project is supported by the Lowndes County Economic Development Commission and the Lowndes County Commission. The proposed service area includes some of the most rural parts of Lowndes County, officials say.

The town of Fort Deposit will have a new business, Heart of the Home Antiques, with vendors that sell crafts and handmade goods.

Anxious to grow its industrial base, the county is marketing its first AdvantageSite, a 735-acre property near Hayneville with existing water, sewer and electric utilities. The site won Economic Development Partnership of Alabama AdvantageSite designation in 2018.

Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson stands before the Prestwood Building, which was recently sold to CDG Engineers and Associates as its new corporate headquarters.

Covington County

Covington County turned 200 years old in December 2021.

The city of Andalusia is working on a new park, Heritage Park, designed by Concordia Architecture. The park will include a splash pad, an amphitheater, market area, carousel, trails, pavilions, a clubhouse and restrooms, city officials say.

The city of Andalusia’s school system has a new superintendent, Dr. Daniel Shakespeare.

In October 2021, the city of Andalusia was invited to present at the International City/County Management Association in Portland, Oregon, on its restoration of the former Three Notch School as a new city hall. The presentation is entitled “Rebirth of An Historic Alabama Community.”

The city also has held two town halls for input on its 10-year comprehensive development plan, city officials say.

Located across the street from the L&N Train Depot is the mural depicting Opp’s history.

In the city of Opp, construction has begun on a 55-acre multi-sports complex that includes four baseball fields, four softball/T-ball fields, two football/soccer fields, four volleyball fields, and a basketball facility. The city is installing a playground, batting cages and splashpad for younger children.

The existing sport complex has been improved by increasing the size of the existing softball fields, relocating the T-ball field, installing new basketball goals, resurfacing the courts and installing new sidewalks.

The city is renovating its municipal building to upgrade the public meeting/court space, says Jason Bryan, Opp city planner. The city also will install a splash pad adjacent to Veteran’s Park downtown to complement upgrades that were completed last year.

Also, the fire department will be upgraded and renovated for the first time since 1971, Bryan says.

“Our downtown has witnessed growth through private investments, several retail spaces have been renovated and occupied along West Covington Avenue,” he says. “There are new retail prospects set to announce over the summer. We have a need for new warehouse/industrial space due to the influx of small manufacturing companies moving into town.”

The city has a capital improvement plan that is being executed in association with the Opp Utility Board, and major upgrades to the water and sewer systems serving a third of the city are underway. Several local streets have been resurfaced and more are planned. Two major sidewalk installation projects are to be completed this summer.

Opp City Schools have increased wireless capabilities and are improving HVAC systems.

The town of Florala is a member of the Alabama Communities of Excellence.

Downtown Luverne.

Crenshaw County

Crenshaw County embarked on a $3.3 million paving project covering 30 miles of county-maintained roads.

Dodd Hawthorne has been named superintendent of the Crenshaw County schools.

In the city of Luverne, the county seat, city officials are updating infrastructure — resurfacing seven miles of roads, replacing 188 power poles, upgrading a power substation and replacing a well and four lift station pumps. Now, the city is looking to replace streetlamp lights with LED lights and add aerators to treat wastewater more efficiently. The city has been reimbursed for storm cleanup and plans to build more sidewalks.

Luverne has been selected as an Alabama Community of Excellence. A new Super Dollar General is under construction.

In Highland Home, a new Family Dollar/Dollar Tree combination store just opened.

This article appeared in the April 2022 issue of Business Alabama.

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