Decatur once proclaimed itself as “The City of Opportunity.” Somewhere along the way we lost our swagger and doubted we could offer what was being offered beyond the river. I believe that in recent years by working together on a common vision that we have proven otherwise.
My memories of pre-1970 Decatur are full of championship moments, building lifelong friendships and finding my wife to be. I lived and played on all sides of Decatur, East-West-Northwest. Glenn and I raised two daughters here and now grandchildren who are seeing Decatur with a renewed confidence. This city never lost the desire to care for its young people as it did in the 60’s. It continues to provide unparalleled recreation opportunities, education, festivals and events that are normally not found in towns our size.
The Decatur I see today is a town that has a bright future built on a strong foundation. The progress of the past several years is stunning in retrospect, but nothing compared to what our future holds. The vision of an arts-based economy – when tied to our Industrial roots – is a solid foundation to attract those who want to “work” to build a better community. Phases One and Two of the Alabama Center for the Arts, the Cook Museum of Natural Science, the restoration of the Historic Train Depot, the Second Avenue/Lee Street/Lower Bank Street improvements and the new and repurposed buildings in our two downtowns proves the ability of our city to excel.
The investment and commitment of more than $65 million in current and future improvements in this one area are tangible evidence that monies will follow leadership. We are experiencing retail expansion in all areas of our community as never before.
We are just beginning to capitalize on these recent investments, which will drive even bigger investments in the future. We are primed to experience a growth that this community has not experienced since the years following the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).
We have big challenges, but no more than most communities. It’s not the challenges that will define us, but rather it will be how we as a community address these challenges in the coming years.
The future has never been brighter for Decatur. The potential for young people to make a difference in our area has never been more needed, the diversity of this community will make us stronger and yes, we continue to be “The City of Opportunity.”
C. Wallace Terry