City Council holds community meeting for Tuscaloosa Forward

Ashanka Kumari

To gather citizen input regarding the Tuscaloosa Forward Generational Master Plan and the new mixed residential districts for areas impacted by the April 27 tornado, an open house was held at City Hall on Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m.

Maps and illustrations of proposed infrastructures throughout tornado recovery areas including parks, streets and other public facilities were on display as well as proposed re-zoning maps and building styles for residential areas within tornado recovery zones.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said he was excited to see so many people attend for the future of the city.

“This is a generational plan, and what we do 20 years from now is going on tonight,” Maddox said.

Andrew Tielking, a junior majoring in economics, said he was particularly interested in seeing the city’s plan for a new recreational park.

“I think that a park is necessary for our youth and is a good place for them to practice hobbies such as skateboarding,” Tielking said. “The roads are not safe in Tuscaloosa, and a whole new recreation park in Alberta is a great idea.”

Anyone who attended the meeting was given the opportunity to speak and leave written comments for the Tuscaloosa City Council. The comments will be reviewed during the next Tuscaloosa Forward planning meeting on March 13.

Councilman Kip Tyner said he is thrilled with what the city knows about the future of Tuscaloosa.

“I am so excited about the new school, fire station, police precinct and the amenities to JC Park that will be coming back in Alberta,” Tyner said.

Tyner said his biggest concern is housing.

“We want to make sure that the housing standards are amongst the highest,” Tyner said. “My goal is to build back the strong neighborhoods we had in Alberta way back when where neighbors are helping neighbors, and we can have neighborhood associations and crime stoppers.”

Aaron Ross, a consultant for Almon Associates who is working on the plan, said that the toughest part is trying to make a vision a reality.

“The plan is still in the preliminary stage, and the hardest part is trying to go from a big vision to trying to find out how the smaller pieces work,” Ross said. “We have to continue to prioritize which things need to happen short term and which are long term.”

Charlotte Wheeler, a retired educator and Alberta resident, said she feels that the new plan will make Tuscaloosa more aesthetically pleasing.

“The plan will link the city together,” Wheeler said. “We can finally put the tornado behind us.”