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franklin county times

Changes are constantly taking place

By Bob Stickley

Several changes have taken place over the past 31 years since I arrived in northwest Alabama and I’ve seen steady growth on the bypass through the years.

I can remember when there wasn’t a shopping center where the old Food World was, which now houses a medical complex and the Alabama 24 overpass wasn’t there as it stands today, offering routes to travel east or west.

There wasn’t a Jack’s or Burger King back then and the hot spot to grab a gravy and biscuit use to be Hardees, then all of a sudden it was dynamited and hauled off overnight it seemed.

Now those grounds host an auto parts store to go along with two other parts stores on U.S. 43.

The city paved the way to a new Wal-Mart Supercenter, closing the old store and opening up a new market place where Peebles, Burks, Hibett’s and Dollar Tree now does business.

Several people lost their jobs when U.S. Reduction closed its doors and now it has also been torn down.

Just east of that site, a new county health facility was built.

We have seen several businesses leave our city, which left a big void of jobs for our citizens.

There have been two new industrial complex’s built, but as of now no new businesses have moved into them.

We have seen a much needed new county jail built. The cost figure set a lot of people griping about it, but folks what hasn’t went up in cost in the past few years. I remember when gas for your car was between $1.25 a gallon and $1.40 a gallon, look at it today.

We have seen three car dealerships on the bypass close their doors and one new one has opened up. The airport has been brought up to standards and a larger runway has been constructed to accommodate larger planes, should we get some industry in.

With the rise of the Hispanic population, new stores and restaurants have popped up down town to accommodate their lifestyle.

The old downtown has begun to see a new facelift with a new city hall, long past overdue I might add giving the Russellville police department more room for the city jail.

New sidewalks and street lights are being constructed and will be done soon. There has been a new modern fire station established just south of town with easy access to the new Alabama 24 east/west bypass. I’m sure Joe Mansell should also say that is long overdue.

Bank Independent is renovating their old facility and will move into it pretty soon, located across from RPD and will have a new drive-thru service available.

The new Alabama 24 has been opened all the way to Decatur and it is nice. Going west, they have completed it almost to Belgreen and plan on going even further. However it does take time to cut through rock, remove hills and build roads, but look what a great job they did going east to Moulton.

The one thing that seems to be lacking in our city is a good restaurant on the bypass that would stay open during the evening hours. Oh we have some good Mexican restaurants here, but still many people travel to the cities north of us to shop and eat. I think it would be nice to have a new Shoney’s on the new highway close to the city.

Though we have seen vast improvements made over the past few years, there is still lots to be done here in Russellville. We need some new industry here bad and when that happens, we should begin to grow again.

We have one of the best school systems in the state and great sports team are housed here in Russellville. So Russellville isn’t a bad place to live after all don’t you agree?

Lets not gripe about everything our elected officials try to do, but pitch in and support them in what they propose to do to rebuild our city.

You’ll be glad you did. And it will help keep our younger generation from going elsewhere to find housing and jobs. Think about the impact all of the rebuilding will have on our city.

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