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New life coming to the old Pilgrim’s Pride plant site in Athens

ATHENS, Ala. --  The old Pilgrim's Pride chicken plant in Athens will finally be getting a makeover. After sitting empty for 10 years, demolition of the plant is almost completed. Now the city council will look at plans on what to develop that area into.

The site on Pryor Street was a chicken plant dating back to the 1950s. It closed about a decade ago.

"We have a horrible eyesore, 30 acres of land that's sitting here that is just run down. It's got a lot of varmints in it. It just needed to be cleaned up," said Athens Mayor, Ronnie Marks.

The city council purchased the land and started a total demolition.

"The demo is about almost to the ground. Then it's an exciting time where we have an opportunity in our community to build maybe a central park," said the Mayor.

The Athens City Council will hear from two architects at their next meeting, to come up with a vision for the park.

"Some retail development, some outdoor area, and maybe even upstairs loft apartments," said Mayor Marks.

He said a main factor in the design will be walkability.

"It backs up to what will soon, in the next year or so, be a 140 lot subdivision. Then that backs up into our $55 million new high school. And you'll have walkability from going to the high school to the park, all the way to downtown to the arts center."

The mayor said the project will increase property values. They have also created a tax incentive program there so money from developments can be invested back into the project. He said demolition will be completed in the next few months.

The city council will look at the plans of two different architects at their next meeting on Monday, January 28th.

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