Dadeville looking at ways to attract more people to city, downtown

Gabrielle Jansen / The Outlook

Dadeville Beautification Board chairman Jerry McGukin speaks to the Dadeville City Council Tuesday about attracting more people to move to the city.

A plan to attract people to move to Dadeville was one of the main items discussed at the Dadeville City Council meeting Tuesday night.

Dadeville Beautification Board chairman Jerry McGukin talked to the council about working with the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission to bring more people into the city.

“To me, and I think (it’s) the general consensus, we’re sitting on a good potential,” McGukin said. “The problem is we need to be where we’re going to be hopefully in a year. We should be right there today but we’re not so we cannot go and offer any of these people housing at this particular time.”

McGukin said a representative of the planning and development commission told him people are looking for towns with sidewalks and places within easy walking distance.

“The main thing we don’t have is walking distance to a decent restaurant,” McGukin said. “That was one of those things that (the planner) said: ‘If you get the housing piece done and you get a couple people, then the other piece should fall in place and start following.’”

McGukin said the planning and development commission is creating a proposal for downtown.

“(The proposal is) not going to be cheap but I don’t think it’s going to be astronomical,” McGukin said. “I’m hoping that the city council can see far enough ahead to want to spend the kind of money that they’re going to be, whether it’s $5,000 or $10,000, whatever, to get this piece put together and that you can start envisioning what it might look like.”

McGukin said the commission told him having Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant houses would help. McGukin said there is no affordable housing in Dadeville.

“I just encourage you to keep your minds open to think about what it could do to the city,” McGukin said. “We have the potential to be a bedroom community and a good-sized bedroom community.”

McGukin said the city can appeal to visitors with housing featuring access to Lake Martin.

“Dadeville is 6 miles (from the lake),” McGukin said. “We leave our house, we’re in the boat and on the water in 10 minutes. … You can’t get any better than that. We could create that same environment right here, get some people who are interested who want to have a nice little retail place and a nice place to live and still have access to the lake.”

McGukin said he wants input from the community on what it wants downtown Dadeville to look like.

“We can adjust,” McGukin said. “We can make amends, do things however we want to do it but we’ve got to have the input before we can do it or else it’s going to be four or five of us making decisions.”

In other action at the meeting, the Dadeville City Council:

• Heard from citizen Lamar Hartley about adding a traffic light at Broadnax and Lafayette streets.

• Voted unanimously to make July 19-21 the back-to-school sales tax holiday.

• Voted unanimously to approve recreational center rentals.

• Was reminded ethics reporting is due April 30.

• Went into executive session about pending litigation.

• Was updated on the removal of a weather siren and the courthouse square projects.