Montgomery development officials say the downtown area is key to attracting visitors and permanent residents to the city. But this time last year--several buildings near Alley Station and lower Dexter Avenue still sat empty and developers promised a push to fill them. But has it worked?
Montgomery residents say there's a lot more to see and do at Alley Station and downtown Montgomery.
"I didn't think it was going to work because I didn't know do a lot of people come down here, but it does work," said Erica Johnson.
However, there are still some empty storefronts. David Gregory is visiting from Atlanta and says having them all full would encourage more tourists.
"If not something there, at least a sign that says coming soon, opening soon, new restaurant, new office spaces, something to let me know that there's something there other than a mistake," Gregory said.
Development Outreach Coordinator Melanie Golson says it isn't a mistake. She says they're still working to attract new businesses.
"Most of the businesses we're attracting, we're looking for boutiques, that sort of thing-and restaurants, not so much chains although a lot will come-but some of the boutique restaurants as well," Golson said.
They're planning improvements to Dexter Avenue to attract more of those business there, too.
"A complete remodel, for lack of a better word. New paving, new sidewalks," said Golson.
City officials say they want to complete those improvements in lower Dexter by 2015 in time for the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery march.