4 YEAR PLAN FEATURES PLENTY OF INFRASTRUCTURE UPDATES
Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox says Tuscaloosa will face some challenges over the next four years, but there’s a lot of good coming, too.
Challenges range from digital upgrades to rising health care costs, but the city is still thriving, Maddox said.
Maddox’s ‘Next Four Years’ plan was highlighted at Tuesday’s Tuscaloosa City Council meeting, where Maddox addressed the pitfalls, challenges and growth he’s striving for before 2021.
Online sales are a fast-growing problem, Maddox said, because 67 percent of the city’s budget comes from gross sales.
“Online digital sales are taking 5 to 10 percent of your growth each and every year,” Maddox said. “Because of the convenience of shopping online, the brick and mortar stores will never be able to compete. When it happens, it hurt our businesses and it hurts the tax bases of communities.”
But there’s plenty of good news, too, Maddox said.
“The things that we know that we’ll be able to accomplish is finish our recovery from April 27, create a new economic model that reflects whats going on in the economy itself,” Maddox said. “It’s a new environment and a new day, we have to adjust for it, and I think the third thing is the completion of project NASCAR.”
Project NASCAR is the fast-tracking of three projects approved through the passage of state House Bill 600 and the Tuscaloosa Road Improvement Commission.
Specifically, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Jack Warner Parkway, McWright’s Ferry Road, and the McFarland Boulevard and Hargrove Road intersections will be getting some attention.
“Those infrastructure projects are not only going to improve transportation in our region, it’s also going to help with economic growth in West Tuscaloosa, which is viably important to our city overall,” Maddox said.
Maddox said he believes Tuscaloosa can complete its recovery from the April 27, 2011, tornado, make gains in education, upgrade roads and make changes to the city’s pay plans.
By 2020, Maddox said Tuscaloosans can expect big improvements to Lurleen Wallace Boulevard, the Benjamin Barnes YMCA, resurfacing and widening MLK Boulevard from Stillman Boulevard to 21st Avenue, and a brand new Children’s Hands-On Museum.
“I think we’re going to be stronger than ever,” Maddox said. “We’ve always been well-managed and fiscally disciplined, and we’re going to continue being strategic.”
Maddox also has an eye on building a convention center and sports complex, which would cost around $400 million. It would be similar to the Hoover Sports Complex. Maddox said the city needs to attract tourists at least 30 weeks of the year to make that proposal a success.
To browse the project plans, look below: