The Midtown Movement targets Old Shell improvements


By Peter Albrecht:

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and it maybe the best way to improve Mobile’s neighborhoods and quality of life. A grass roots group wants to make improvements to Old Shell Road, east of Interstate-65, much like the changes made west of the freeway in the Village of Springhill.

With four schools, dozens of businesses, several churches, and hundreds of homes, the 4.5 mile stretch of Old Shell Road between I-65 and Broad Street has a little bit of everything – including traffic issues, flood-prone areas, and stretches of missing sidewalk.

Over the last year a citizens group has formed called the Midtown Movement.

It’s next step is hiring a firm to come up with a comprehensive plan for Old Shell Road.

“They don’t want to start out with no rat-tat-tat with the machine gun approach, they want a plan,” said Mobile City Councilman Fred Richardson, a major supporter of the group. “Before they start anything major, they want a plan.”

It will cost about $65,000 to get that done, according to Ashley Dukes of the Midtown Movement.

Ultimately the same types of issues will be tackled that already have been successfully addressed by the Village of Springhill organization up the hill on Old Shell west of I-65…

“We can install turn lanes to help these schools out,” said Richardson. “We can put sidewalks up there and curbs, gutters, lighting, and trees. There’s a lot we can do.”

A non-profit has been formed which allows the organization to seek various grants.

Private money is being raised. And this week, The County Commission gave more than 12,000 dollars to the effort.

County Commissioner  Merceria Ludgood expects to contribute more in the future. Something she says it is easier to do when there is grass-roots effort involved.

“It certainly does leverage our money because we only have so much that we can put toward efforts like this,” said Ludgood.  “I personally like to see a community that takes the initiative and when they come and say we’ve come this far and we need this help, that’s always persuasive and impressive to me. “

Some drainage and repaving money has already been set aside by the City and County.

A public input session will be held when the planning consultants visit Mobile November 18 and 19.

Full story originally published here.