Design Alabama

(Submitted) Tallassee Mayor Johnny Hammock, Florala Mayor Terry Holley, Montevallo Mayor Hollie Cost, and Monroeville Mayor Sandy Smith, where honored for their participation in the annual DesignAlabama Summit at the League of Municipalities Conference that was held Thursday in Montgomery. They are pictured along with Board of Directors of the National League of Cities member Jim Byard.

Tallassee Mayor Johnny Hammock made the trip to Montgomery for the Alabama League of Municipalities Conference where he was honored for his participation in the DesignaAlabama

Mayor's Summit that was held in Prattville in February.

"The DesignAlabama Summit, I was presented with an award for participating in that program," Mayor Johnny Hammock said. "Every year they choose five mayors to participate in this design summit. I was very honored to be one of the five chosen.

DesignAlabama is a nonprofit organization that is citizen-led and provides the skills and learning tools that will assist urban planning, architecture, landscape, engineering and design, including industrial, graphic and fashion designs.

The organization understands quality of life and financial growth in Alabama is improved through good planning and design. Furthermore, DesignAlabama considers designs will affect the environment in different ways and why plans must be carried out responsibly. This is why DesignAlabama works with designers and non-designers as well as public officials to create designs that will benefit their communities.

DesignAlabama's day-and-a-half workshop partnered five Alabama mayors with six expert design professionals held open discussions to create substantial solutions for challenges their community faces. Mayors from Montevallo, Summerdale, Folrella and Monroeville were also awarded.

"It was a great time working with them. I learned a lot from them and learned some things from me," Hammock said. "My project was basically the downtown project where we awarded the TAPS Grant."

The goal of the annual summit is to give each attending mayor the needed knowledge and understanding of design terms, design issues, design trends, make valuable contacts, and begin the development of preliminary design solutions to real problems.

"We went over a lot of the design challenges," Hammock said.

During the summit, Hammock and the other four mayors were asked to prepare a 10-minute presentation on their cities and discuss the design issue. Hammock's presentation included maps, photographs, renderings and other items related to the design.

"The downtown streetscape that we are going to probably do this upcoming year, is to make all the sidewalks (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant, also replace all the gas, sewer and waterlines downtown, then milling down and repaving that road in the downtown square,” Hammock said. “But there were design issues. Some of the shop owners in downtown owned part of the sidewalk. So we had to get easements for the sidewalks and get them recorded and things like that for (the Alabama Department of Transportation). We also had to do all of the engineering design works. The specifications for the gas, water, sewer line because we are going to do it all at one time."

Once the downtown project is complete, Hammock has a vision to secure additional grant funding to tie in more of the downtown area to include a portion of the old mill stairs that once carried mill workers to and from work, and to covert the old railroad bridge into a pedestrian walkway bridge.

"Then tie that into the recently acquired eastside mill site," Hammock said. "Get that cleaned up and build a walkway similar to what we have at Graveyard Creek."