News & Updates
June 15, 2011
Public Input for Heritage Area
Moulton City Hall Hosts First Community Meeting June 16
Source: Courier Journal
Newby Gulf Station in Athens was built in 1933. It’s one of only two service station/cafe structures of the Prairie Style architecture left in the state. This was one of the first full-service stations to open in Alabama. The Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area was designated by Congress in March, of 2009 making it one of 49 National Heritage Areas in the US and the only one in Alabama. The MSNHA includes the six northwest Alabama counties of Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone and Morgan, and is coordinated through an office at the University of North Alabama. The director of the MSNHA is Judy Sizemore.
National Heritage Areas help coordinate leaders and communities working together in preserving the natural and cultural resources they deem important. The partnership involves collaborative planning around one or several themes, industries and/or geographical features that influenced the region’s culture and history. Residents, government agencies, non-profit groups and private partners to agree on and prioritize programs and projects that recognize, preserve, and celebrate the area’s defining landscapes. The National Park Service’s Department of Interior oversees National Heritage Areas with a blend of federal, state, and local monies.
The Tennessee River is a clear asset to northwest Alabama, one upon which we need to capitalize. The NW Alabama area was designated the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area because of the rapids in the river and their influence on commerce and the settlement pattern, according to Sizemore. It had little to do with the city of Muscle Shoals.
The MSNHA has no regulatory authority to condemn land, impact zoning, and cannot acquire property using federal funding from the Heritage Area. In addition, MSNHA cannot require participation from any historic sites or attractions – it is a voluntary program.
The first public meeting for MSNHA is Thursday, June 16 at 6pm at Moulton City Hall. Sizemore said, “It’s important that people come and give their input on the development of the MSNHA. The public will have some great ideas, but if they don’t come and share them, the ideas won’t be a part of the MSNHA!”