FLORENCE, ALA. – It’s been a busy year for the city of Florence, in the once stagnant Sweetwater District specifically.
The intersection of Royal Avenue and Huntsville Road was once considered treacherous by many not familiar with the area. In the Spring of 2018, after years of discussion, the city and state began construction on a roundabout.
However, due to construction, several businesses were virtually cut off because of detours. The roundabout opened during the summer and Mayor Steve Holt says since then, it’s helping to revitalize the area.
“We’re so proud of it, but the troopers down here have been Ray’s at the Bank, and Seasons Restaurant, and Staggs Restaurant, that relied on a lot of foot traffic,” said the mayor.
To show that pride, the city is having a Christmas-themed Sweetwater District Grand Opening Celebration on Friday.
The event will be from 5 to 8 p.m. and will feature special guests, Santa and Mrs. Claus. There will be activities for kids, holiday market vendors, and Christmas caroling by the Florence Camerata. The mayor says, even if it’s not in the forecast, visitors should also expect to see some snow.
Mayor Holt is hopeful that this roundabout improvement will yield continued growth in the district. “We’ve got another restaurant ready to open, we’ve got High Ridge Distillery hopefully ready to open, we have an insurance agency ready to open, and most of these buildings are now occupied.”