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A look back at 2020 for Auburn and Opelika

Updated: Dec. 30, 2020 at 6:39 PM EST
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OPELIKA, Ala. (WTVM) - It has been a challenging year, and COVID-19 and the 2020 election remained at the forefront of our minds.

But, plenty of other important things happened in Opelika and Auburn throughout the year.

“If you would have asked me a year ago if this is how I thought the U.S. was going to be, I literally never would have believed you,” Auburn resident Abbey Wilder said.

But close to home, plenty of stories, projects and events kept Lee County bustling in 2020.

“In spite of COVID, we’ve had many good things happen,” Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller said.

Successfully blocking a proposed quarry just north of downtown Opelika was a major highlight for Fuller.

“We were able to annex that property through a legislative act, so that for the 1,250 acres, there will never be any doubt in the future that it will be used for a quarry,” he said.

The city saw population growth and new residential developments. It was also the inaugural year of two pre-k classes for Opelika City Schools.

“I’d like for every child in Opelika to be able to experience pre-k because I think it makes a difference in their lives,” Fuller said.

The city of Auburn, too, saw big projects and plans, like the One Auburn Initiative, a way to confront topics like diversity and equality to unite Auburn.

“We had a protest, a couple of different protests in downtown Auburn, so certainly it was my responsibility to react to that and answer the bell,” Auburn Mayor Ron Anders said.

Anders said he’s pleased with the growth of the city, as well as having Sio2 Materials, which makes the vials that hold Modern’s COVID-19 vaccine, in town.

“When you think of the pandemic and the vaccine, Sio2 is right in the middle of it,” Anders said. “Auburn is playing a role in curing the world of this awful pandemic.”

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