Located in the southern section of Baldwin County just north of Gulf Shores, the town of Foley has a lot going for it. Bays, rivers and the Gulf of Mexico. A near 500-acre nature preserve, a heritage rose trail that ambles through a downtown, museums, parks and other amenities.
When it comes to livability, however, any community has room to grow. With that in mind, Foley recently participated in DesignPlace, a DesignAlabama initiative that assists communities with design, planning and community identity. Design experts demonstrate how to enhance quality of life and community development through the design arts, and design professionals provide input to citizens and city leaders.
The design experts recently presented their DesignPlace report to the city. The report recommends increasing public space and residential development, along with improving connectivity to reduce circuitous travel, shorten travel time, and offer alternative modes such as biking and walking.
The concept shown in the Foley report includes trail, park and creek connections along with a variety of housing development options, says Foley DesignPlace Lead Facilitator Ben Wieseman of Place Associates, his multi-disciplinary firm specializing in planning, landscape architecture and real estate development. As lead facilitator, Wieseman’s responsibilities included helping to build the design team and putting together the final report delivered to the city.
Wieseman says he would like to see the city engage a developer to help plan and phase in an area adjacent to the downtown and rose trail where the historic Hamburg Building is located. This early board and batten building is in need of rehabilitation and was constructed by the local farmers’ cooperative and served as a processer, warehouse, and feed and seed store.
Foley’s biggest assets, Wieseman says, is its quality of place. Therefore, a top priority is to build on that asset with amities and capital improvements that serve its residents.
Wayne Dyess, Foley’s Executive Director of Infrastructure and Development, says the DesignAlabama report will serve as an inspiration and thought-provoking analysis of the city.
“It is always great to bring a very talented team to your community with multiple professional design disciplines to take a fresh look at your community, its opportunities, its assets, and ways to maximize and capitalize on those assets,” Dyess continues.
“We will further evaluate the topics and projects the team developed, analyze their findings and suggestions and then develop a more granular approach to implementation of the topics in the report.”
This will be accomplished, he says, through long range planning documents, specialized plans or in operational and capital aspects of the city. The report will also assist the city in its commitment to maintaining and improving quality of life.
“We are very thankful for DesignAlabama’s interest and assistance to our community. We value their expertise and look forward to implementation of the report.”
* Article Written by Jessica Armstrong and Images Courtesy of DesignAlabama