Columbiana: becoming an entertainment destination

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COLUMBIANA, Ala. (WIAT) — Expansion projects, both residential and commercial, are now underway in Columbiana. City officials say they are looking to grow the city, without compromising Columbiana’s “small-town charm.”

In recent years, Columbiana mayor Stancil Handley said growth has been stagnant.

“Our Wynn Dixie closed several years ago, so the shopping center has kind of struggled a little,” said Handley. “It stayed maybe half-occupied.”

With 80% of the city’s budget paid for by retail sales tax, commercial development is needed for overall city growth.

“We need more retail,” said Handley. “People are tired of going to Alabaster to buy their socks.”

Getting people to spend more money starts with growing the city, said Handley.

“We don’t like losing our smart, brilliant young people to other cities,” said Handley. “But if we have no place for them to stay, then they’re gonna go. They had to.”

That’s where Springs Crossing comes in. It’s the first residential subdivision being built in Columbiana in more than 20 years — 135 homes are now being built for the project.

Small town tourism is also part of the long term vision for growing the city.

“We want to become the entertainment destination for Central Alabama,” said Handley.

A major construction project is now underway to make that happen.

A new six-acre park spanning one block of Street is being built. The focal point of the park: The Shelby County Arts Center. The space will include a grand hall, black box theater, fine art gallery and much more.

Shelby County Arts Council executive director Bruce Andrews said the arts center is being built with a mission in mind — to spread the power of the arts.

“What I really want out of this, is a community of artists,” said Andrews. “I believe is you attract a community of creatives, then everything else will take care of itself. People will want to come see that, see what they’re doing.”

The project is slated to be complete mid-August.

For those wanting to visit Columbiana before the arts center is complete, the city is hosting it’s 33rd annual Liberty Day celebration June 28 – 29. For more info click here!

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