(WHNT) - Decatur's arts scene is growing, said Mayor Don Kyle. He says this is one way the city is establishing its own identity.
Phase one of the Alabama Center for the Arts is open. The school offers associates and bachelors' level arts degrees, with more programs to be added.
"That's created a surge in restaurant businesses in downtown Decatur," said Mayor Kyle. "Huntsville's a draw for the whole region. Decatur needs to push for retail and culinary growth, too."
Mayor Kyle told Paul Finley, host of WHNT News 19's Leadership Perspectives, how Decatur is also looking to grow the I-65 corridor.
"We've got landowners that are interested in developing acreage into something other than farms," said Kyle. "The infrastructure investment is partially made."
Finley, former mayor of Madison, asked Kyle what concerns he has for Decatur's future.
Kyle, who has a financial background, said his biggest concern is the budget. He said he watches it closely, and said the city will be better off practicing good budgeting, even in good years when the money isn't so tight.
"Don't let up your pressure on good budget management," said Kyle. "We have to be cautious taking risks," he added. "In the end, we'll be better off -- we won't trap ourselves."