Comments are welcome (positive or negative), but any self-advertisements or irrelevant posts will be deleted.

No new posts are being added to this blog. For planning news and updates, check out The BIG Picture Huntsville (also on Facebook). For transportation info, check out the Huntsville Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A special announcement

Hello, readers!
I thought I would let you guys know what I've been up to lately.

A while back, I met with Mayor Battle. Impressed with the blog, he offered me a part-time consulting position with the city, working on projects pertaining to economic development (see FAQ's). As some observant readers have already noticed (including Reactionary over at flashpoint), the city council this month approved a contract for me to work part-time as a "retail specialist." I started this week, and will continue to work for the city for the next year.

Potential FAQ's

What is a "retail specialist"? Since different parts of the city have different needs, I'll be doing a "hodge-podge" of projects, from mapping out vacant and underused retail properties throughout the city, to locating potential grocery store sites/chains for under served urban areas (like the NW and SW sides).

What will become of the blog? Since part of my job is to come up with ideas to improve areas of the city, you may see more "Ideas" posts for general neighborhoods and corridors. My hope is that I will be able to get valuable input from you, the reader, on as many ideas as possible.

The blog's focus will remain on the region as a whole. I will continue to occasionally write about transportation issues, and now with Madison announcing a new Target soon and a "growth plan" in the works, I'll have plenty of material to write about there too.

Thanks for reading, and here's to another year!



Anonymous said...

I love it!!! I am interested in opening a boutique in the city. I have been driving around the city to find affordable spaces. Do you know of anything under 1,200 a month??

Stephen said...

Congratulations. I'm glad Mayor Battle recognized the value of your ideas and put you in a position to do more than just keep us, the curious, informed. Your "ideas" posts have been some of my favorites, so I'm happy there will be more of those coming.

I know it's probably not in the scope of your new job, but can you find out why Huntsville is still not on Google Transit? I was in Chicago last month, and Google Transit on a smartphone made getting around really simple.

James said...

@Anonymous: Let the Mayor's office know about your plans, and we'll try to help you out. Include a desired location-- NE, SE, SW, SE-- as well.

@Stephen: The city has already submitted the info necessary to put us on Google Transit. That was back in the summer, though; I don't know why it's taking so long.

Josh said...

Congratulations! You deserve it as you always have the best public domain info available for upcoming projects as well as potential project ideas and long range plans.

Good luck in your new endeavor.

Allen Krell said...

Great! Thank you for remembering urban areas. Old Winn-Dixie on Oakwood is a blight on the neighborhood. Let's fill it up or tear it down.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations. This is a post that has been needed for some time and I'm sure you will do a great job. Please try to find tenants for the Haysland Square/Hamilton Square Shopping Centers. It is an excellent location but has been allowed to sit largely empty for years affecting the value of our nearby homes. Thanks very much.

ramblinMan said...

Congrats. I'm glad to see your hard work pay off. I've been a regular visitor for at least a year now. Looking forward to more...

Jeff said...

Congratulations! You have great ideas about Huntsville development, and I'm excited to know that someone in our government is listening. Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Love your blog - it provides a much needed service.

One thing to consider in your new role: The east side of Huntsville (Big Cove, Hampton Cove, Brownsboro, Gurley, McMullen Cove, Owens Cross Roads) is growing like gangbusters residentially but the retail growth hasn't followed. Funny that you can build thousands of houses in the $200K-$2M range and have to drive into Jones Valley to shop or eat.

Having spent my career in Fortune 500 marketing, I think the problem lies in the ambiguity (or absence) of market data. If a company is interested in locating here, how would they find us? "The Cove" has no formal boundaries and covers 6-7 addresses and almost as many zip codes. When I look at demographics online they're horribly inaccurate.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations. To echo comments about Haysland Square I think something like Peebles could go in the old Goody's/Belk's store. Something like that is needed on the south end of town. Maybe also one of the smaller Books A Million stores. I would like that center to be lively once again.

Nick said...

Greetings from Auburn,

Congratulations on recent achievement for the City of Huntsville. You deserve it! I have been following your blog for three years. I am a junior earning my dual degree in architecture and interior architecture with future plans to study urban design.

Being a native of Huntsville and advocate for smart urban design I find your blog very intriguing and will continue to read it.

War Eagle!

UrbanOptimist said...

This is very exciting for you. I hope you will do your best to keep most retail local as opposed to regional chains.

Anonymous said...

Congrats! Your ideas and insight will definitely assist the HSV move in the right direction.