Decatur in 2017

I don’t even want to think about how horrid national politics will be in 2017 so I’m going to turn my attention to Decatur.  I’m not in the inner circle so I hear things about the same time everyone else does, unless I just happen to know somebody that knows somebody and I get a heads up warning.  But here’s some things that I think we’ll be discussing in the community in 2017.

Demo Days Ahead

The city is getting really aggressive about demolishing many vacant buildings in Decatur’s inner city.  About 1,000 homes and structures are going to be coming down.  That’s a lot!  It’s sad on one hand but probably the only real option to make areas of town marketable again for residential or commercial development.

New Businesses/New Locations

Sonic’s will be opening a second location on Decatur’s northend directly across from Dairy Queen.  Good news for Decatur.  Bad news for my waistline.  Some well-known chain restaurant is supposed to be locating in the old Ruby Tuesday location.  The name hasn’t been revealed yet.  Doctor’s offices are springing up too.  The old Maverick’s Steak House building will be new offices and on the corner of Pershing and MacArthur Ave, the VITA Center for Women will be moving in.  It’s currently located on the DMH campus.  A new Dollar Tree store will be on Pershing near the recently closed Kmart.

Unfortunately, Decatur will be losing TJ Maxx to Forsyth.  I’m just not a big fan of Forsyth shopping, so I doubt I’ll be visiting it very often.  It’s not that I don’t like Forsyth, it’s just that I like supporting Decatur more.

Northend Struggles

I have a good hunch that Decatur’s northend will continue being the target of proposed changes.  I think it’s a matter of time before the corner of Ash and 51 goes commercial.  Aldi’s wasn’t the right fit but if something comes along that is highly desirable, I think the neighborhood will have quite a fight on its hands.  I just hope the city spends a lot of time in proper planning to ensure the best for all.

Even my old stomping grounds are being threatened.  The street I grew up on, South Court Drive has commercial interest.  A particular property owner has contacted nearby property owners to see if they would be willing to sell.  Obviously, the rest of the neighborhood isn’t impressed.  My dad is ready to set up cannons and other artillery if necessary. Ha.  Even if I didn’t grow up on that street, I wouldn’t think the area would be right for commercial development.  It would destroy the whole character of the neighborhood.

Overall Predictions

I’m not going to really give predictions because I don’t have enough inside information but I think Decatur will do okay in 2017.  I think we’ll have some positive news and some not-so-positive news but overall I’m optimistic.  I’d sure love to see new stores go into the old Haines & Essicks building.  I missed it during the holidays but at least Del’s is back on Merchant Street.

I’m eager to see the addition of a new amphitheater and aquatic center in Nelson Park.  Both are very positive things for the city, even though I’m still pulling for a lazy river.  The expanded rail line at Scovill Zoo should be a fun addition and I’m looking forward to continuing volunteering there.  I miss the zoo in the winter but I’ll be there for volunteer classes soon.

One thing we shouldn’t see a lot more of in 2017 is more gambling locations.  The city put a cap on the number of those establishments.  We’re already at the limit!

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