What turns a city into a place you want to call home? What gives it its edge over its rivals? When every city begins to look a bit alike, what lets some cities (either big or small) create a special allure, develop as a powerful brand, or just become known as the ideal place to do business?
What makes a city fail or work is if it can deliver quality of life! Quality of life is a reflection of both the hard and the softer elements of city and rural living. And it's not just about wealth. This is about shared experiences - a community that's inclusive, but works for all.
It's kayaking in the shadow of our beautiful Elk River. It's about Mooresville’s quiet historic village, which is nestled between larger cities, yet continues to inspire others with its early 19th century architecture.
With the many challenges facing our communities, how do we maintain the city's heart, create homes for all, and add to our city’s density without reducing services, all while maintaining life and vitality on our streets? Parts of the solutions are simple in that many of the things that create quality of life are inexpensive, such as places to assemble while enjoying a beautiful water fountain, or biking the many miles of charted trails.
Additionally, we have begun expanding on our involvement with the Southern Makers Festival in Montgomery. The festival features independent craftsmen and vendors where you can still find food, furniture, and other merchandise which have been expertly produced in and around Alabama. Local participants in the festival include Belle Chevre Creamery and Robin Wade Furniture, where visitors can enjoy personal tours. According to the Southern Makers website, “proceeds from ticket sales at the Festival benefit E.A.T. South, which is a non-profit organization that encourages healthy lifestyles through educational and sustainable food production in urban areas throughout the southeast.”
However, our city also needs to hold on to what makes her unique. That's why people seek out the distinctive festivals like our Fiddlers’ Convention and Storytelling Festival along with the unusual at our Grease Festival. Our local culture and history can be celebrated and enjoyed at the Alabama Veterans’ Museum, as well as Athens State University.
We are blessed with talented musicians performing at our monthly concert series in the park, and artists teaching and delighting us at High Cotton Arts. We also provide oral history during our Cemetery Strolls and Historic Walks. This is why people fall in love with our communities, which in some ways, have lived past others’ sell-by dates.
The Athens-Limestone County Tourism is anxious to show you what we will enjoy bringing to our county in 2016. Each year, we are preparing for new and exciting activities for our communities and our guests. We also help to bring new life and business to Limestone County passionately and expose every resident and visitor to high quality experiences.
We would like to wish you all a fascinating 2016!
By: Teresa Todd, President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association