AUBURN, AL (WTVM) – This year will be one of growth and change in the city of Auburn.
New buildings, new programs, and new jobs are all planned for the loveliest village in 2018 and many of the projects from 2017 will wrap up in the coming months.
It has almost become impossible to talk about Auburn without discussing parking. In the summer the city began rolling out an aggressive parking plan for the cities downtown.
"The citizens have told us time and time again that we need more parking in downtown Auburn," said Auburn City Manager Jim Buston.
Part of the city's plan is a new parking deck in the middle of Auburn's downtown area. The new deck will accommodate about 300 cars and will also be home to the Baptist Student Center. The Student Center currently sits on the land that the deck is planned for. The city's agreement with the group builds their center into the first floor of the deck on the Wright Street side of the property.
The deck is designed to sit toward the back of the property. A passive park will occupy the front of the lot on College Street between Quixotes Bar and the Bicycle shop.
The parking plan also includes changes to metered parking in the downtown area. More details can be found in the city's parking plan. To view the parking plan, click here.
The city is planning to expand its new single-stream recycling to all citizens in Auburn later this year. The initial rollout phase began in 2017 in areas that had high participation in the "regular" recycling program. A grant from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) made that rollout possible. City officials are hoping for another grand from ADEM to complete the citywide roll out.
According to Buston, "In the areas where we started single-stream recycling, regular recycling participation was about 30%. With single stream recycling, we are seeing about 75 percent participation." That near 45 percent increase has city officials hopeful for similar participation during the city wide roll out.
If the city gets a grant for additional recycling carts from ADEM, they will provide funding for two new packer trucks for the recycling program.
Buston hopes to have the full city roll out some time this summer.
During 2018 the city will begin a comprehensive traffic study to identify ways to improve transportation in Auburn. The $500,000 study will evaluate and optimize signal timing and identify intersections and roadway improvements to help with traffic flow.
The study will look at how to get traffic to move around downtown. Buston says delivery trucks specifically have to go through downtown when they wouldn't need to if there was a way to get to the outlying areas without going through downtown
The city is continuing to implement the Northwest Auburn plan continuing some projects already in the works. The city has set aside $4.2 million dollars to go to areas in Northwest Auburn for streets scape improvements and other projects.
The Boykin community center project is one Buston is especially proud of. "We are turning it into a real community center" Buston explained. The center will even feature medical services for residents in the area through a partnership with Auburn Universities School of Nursing and the College of Osteopathic Medicine.
According to Buston Auburn was one of the safest cities in Alabama in 2017, he also says that the city continues to get safer. This year Auburn saw 32 robberies and 1,341 thefts, in 2008 the city 56 robberies and 1800 thefts. Buston praised the city's police officers for their work making the community safer.
In 2018 the city will also begin construction on the new Public safety center. The center will be located on Ross Street where fire station 1 currently sits. The new center will be home to Fire station 1, Auburn Police Division Headquarters, the Auburn Municipal court, and City Council Chambers.
In 2017 Briggs & Stratton announced the expansion of their Auburn Facility. The expansion, which will take place in 2018, will initially bring 50 new jobs to the area. The company is making a $12 million investment.