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Old 05-24-2009, 09:53 PM
 
Location: Yes
2,663 posts, read 4,105,259 times
Reputation: 853
Default Short thoughts after a visit back home

I was in town (Mobile/Eastern Shore) for a week at the end of April (been gone for well over a year now). To be honest, it took me 2 or 3 days to get back adjusted to the "smallness" of the city (3 million metro here versus what, 500k?). What is funny is that the city was never that small in my eyes - when I lived there.

What I can say is that it was absolutely great driving the Causway again and seeing fellas fishing off the highway as you cross the bay. It was great seeing the beautiful greenery everywhere and seeing the shaded portion of Government St. It was great visiting the old spots where I used to hang out (still love Purple Cafe the most), and it was great seeing everyone I knew living as they were before the wife and I moved (care-free ). It was also great being back under the southern sun rays. And of course, Gulf Shores. I also like the new "development" in Midtown (regarding the southwestern-colored strip mall and Mellow Mushroom).

However, I was disssapointed in one respect. With all the talk, I think I was expecting to see too much downtown upon return. To be honest, I am still extremely underwhelmed by Mobile's downtown when I think of its potential ... and I do not understand why there is not more development and business there. I mean, with it prettymuch being the only completely walkable social section of Mobile, it seems like it would be an absolute gold mind for anyone willing to take a risk and open up a working class pub, hangout, or the like ... especially when you also include the beauty of the general area downtown. Or, it also seems like a gold mind for creative acts such as a retro bowling alley, theme bar, etc. I mean, I know there are a few clubs, a few bars, and a few eclectic places ... but overall, it just feels so empty with no energy. Not to mention that 2/3 of downtown still consists of empty buildings - especially the further west and/or north you go. That wouldn't bother me at all if there were other walkable "happening" social sections of Mobile, but Downtown is that one and only section. At the very least, IMO, there should be a few established districts in the downtown area - such as small areas for regular retail, a bar/club dominent section, an eateries dominent section, and the alternative/indie section. I mean, it is set up perfectly for such a format. What do you guys think is keeping development of more business/atmosphere back? Old money? Lack of individuals with money to risk? Lack of will or innovation? Lack of population base?

Now, after that rant, let me retract and repeat that it was still a good feeling being back home for a week. I know that I am very much into walkability and progressive city acts, but of course I still greatly appreciate the slow-paced environment the bay community carries. And I still say that the Mobile Press Register is the best newspaper in the country. I do have mixed emotions regarding political atmosphere (at times, I almost felt uncomfortable mentioning my political stances on issues or discuss how I voted for/support Obama) ... but that was somewhat expected.

Other than the last two complaints though, I will say it was a great trip. We plan on returning home sometime down the road, but not right now. Maybe when that time comes I can help with the change that I (and I'm sure others) desire in development/atmosphere.

War Eagle.
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Old 05-25-2009, 12:08 AM
 
896 posts, read 1,586,501 times
Reputation: 343
Give it time.Mobile has come along way.
I personally don't think Alabamians know the value in Mobile or know the history of the great city. Too many have their eyes set north when we have one of the most unique cities in the country.Some friends of mine up here in Hville thought New Orleans or Louisiana is the only place that has french influences because of the lack of attention that is given to Mobile by the nation and Alabamians when we should be proud of the city.I'm not even from Mobile but it gets my support and I think its a jewel that could surpass New Orleans if it could grab young Alabamians instead of them going to Atlanta. On the other hand I don't really like Atlanta I much prefer Mobile, so rapid expansion might not be be the best thing.
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Old 05-25-2009, 05:49 AM
 
Location: Alpharetta Ga-Loxley Al
272 posts, read 576,759 times
Reputation: 66
I think maybe a lot of people may have become leary of Mobile/ Baldwin area due to the Hurricane action on the coast in recent years. The way the goverment handled Katrina probaly caused some people and businesses to shy away from Mobile. I do agree the area has great potential, and hopefully it will move foward positively when the economy improves. It's a shame to see all the subdivisions developed in Baldwin with only a handfull of houses built in them. However I guess that's better than a lot of areas in Atlanta that overbuilt all these houses and now have mass amounts of foreclosures and banks that have gone bad. You have to deal with mother nature wherever you are hurricanes, tornadoes or blizzards if you live up north, so hopefully when people get those images of Katrina out of there head maybe they'll start to look at all the positive aspects of the area again.
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Yes
2,663 posts, read 4,105,259 times
Reputation: 853
Stream-of-thought typing error and too much time has passed for me to edit. Please ignore the fact that I typed "Gold Mind" twice.

How embarrassing.
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Old 05-25-2009, 11:36 AM
 
Location: Floribama
8,857 posts, read 15,790,715 times
Reputation: 5238
Downtown Mobile still has the "ghetto" reputation, that's one reason why it isn't thriving.
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Old 05-25-2009, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Florida
6,270 posts, read 12,206,807 times
Reputation: 4539
I don't see that ever changing.
I've been away from the area a few years now. Visited last year and just shook my head at how ghetto and behind times the entire area is.
Maybe it was due to getting out and seeing other places in this great USA.
Once I did that, there is no going back; unless for a quick visit. I couldn't bear to be there longer than a few days. It's oppressive and depressing. It's hot and humid. It's dirty,dirty,dirty.
Soooooooooo many bigger and smaller cities that I've been fortunate to see that are able to keep their cities clean and moving forward. People in other places take pride in their areas. Not Mobile--nope.

Quote:
Originally Posted by southernnaturelover View Post
Downtown Mobile still has the "ghetto" reputation, that's one reason why it isn't thriving.
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Old 05-25-2009, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Floribama
8,857 posts, read 15,790,715 times
Reputation: 5238
Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWeavin View Post
I don't see that ever changing.
I've been away from the area a few years now. Visited last year and just shook my head at how ghetto and behind times the entire area is.
Maybe it was due to getting out and seeing other places in this great USA.
Once I did that, there is no going back; unless for a quick visit. I couldn't bear to be there longer than a few days. It's oppressive and depressing. It's hot and humid. It's dirty,dirty,dirty.
Soooooooooo many bigger and smaller cities that I've been fortunate to see that are able to keep their cities clean and moving forward. People in other places take pride in their areas. Not Mobile--nope.
Well it's not all of Mobile, there are some very nice areas. It just so happens that some of the worst areas surround downtown.
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Old 05-25-2009, 03:48 PM
 
Location: Mobile,Al(the city by the bay)
2,264 posts, read 2,933,038 times
Reputation: 682
The problem with Mobile and we all know is old money, Mobile has 13,000 millionare families with no fortune 500 companies in the city. It`s all old money , Mobile has come a long way and I have seen changes in the downtown areas. There are some ghetto areas around downtown mainly north and areas around Broad.The Bring Back Braod street plan is under way and the portion of Broad street that is southwest and along the down the bay area has new medians with newly planted magnolias and sthe same street lights that are on goverment are now on Broad street. Downtown has come a long way Royal street use to look horrible, but it is full of hotels,restaurants,l,cafes, law and engineering firms now. Dauphin street has come along way as well. There are 18 bars and clubs in just the downtown area alone that range from live music,retro,up scale,comdy,jazz and anything else you want.



I am all for retail downtown like you OC and there is a great need for it but as long as you have people wanting to continue to move out west and in Baldwin County change will never come. now statisticaly downtown residence has grown over the past 5 years. The developers I have talked to say that the downtown population and demographics need to grow for retail to come in.

DreamWevvin: Mobile is not a big dirty ghetto you are over dramatic, Mobile is really clean even the ghetto areas of Mobile are a lot better than some cities I have visited such as Chicago,NYC,Atlanta,Detroit,Charlotte,Tampa,New Orleans and several others I have visited.

I agree with OC about downtown needing a little bit more but as far as DreamWevvin`s point of view about the whole city being a dirty ghetto is strecthing it !

7spider : Hurricans doesn`t have anything to do with it my friend,Miami,Tampa,Jacksonville,Houston and other large southern coastal cities are hit with them every year and they all have rebuilt and recieved goverment assistance faster than New Orleans. New Orlens problem was due to the Lousiana goverment calling for help at the last minute and not to mention the city is below sea level , is in a bowl ,and sinking as right this momment.Mobile is trying it`s best to attract young proffesionals and bring in new industry with white collar jobs and the city has been some what sucessful in doing so but several of the Goverment contracts are on hold do to politics.


Former Mayor Dow had a plan called the String of Pearls which included The new RSA Tower,Convention Centre,Govermnet Plaza,Cruise terminal,Battle House and Riverview hotel restorations,and revitalization of Dauphin and Royal street as well.

Mayor Sam Jones have a plan now which is called New Plan for Old Mobile.It includes 2 more highrise office towers,1 high rise condo tower, the tearing down of the civic center and making it an entertainment district with an Atlantic Station type of development. Boat slips downtown with yacht dinner cruises on the bay. A life style shopping center downtown,grocery stores, chain resturants such as Red Robin,Ruby Tuesdays, and Fridays,A lited river walk, and pedestrian bridges along weter and Goverment street. Another Shopping center clled the Gulf Waters on Water street.Continuation of Dow`s Bring Back Braod st with trollys running down Broad all the way to Arlington park. Arlington park will have piers and a ferris wheel on the bay front. Last the Mery Time but now called the Gulf Quest Museum which will also offer Bay excursions.


So change is coming and the down turn of the economy is playing a role in the process but it`s coming. There is a huge amount of private investments for the New Plan For Old Mobile lay out and Dale Jr is one of the private investors in the plan.Every one is holding out for the economy and the Gulf Quest musem with bay excursions will break ground this summer.

Last edited by PortCity; 05-25-2009 at 04:02 PM..
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Old 05-25-2009, 04:43 PM
 
Location: Alpharetta Ga-Loxley Al
272 posts, read 576,759 times
Reputation: 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by PortCity View Post
The problem with Mobile and we all know is old money, Mobile has 13,000 millionare families with no fortune 500 companies in the city. It`s all old money , Mobile has come a long way and I have seen changes in the downtown areas. There are some ghetto areas around downtown mainly north and areas around Broad.The Bring Back Braod street plan is under way and the portion of Broad street that is southwest and along the down the bay area has new medians with newly planted magnolias and sthe same street lights that are on goverment are now on Broad street. Downtown has come a long way Royal street use to look horrible, but it is full of hotels,restaurants,l,cafes, law and engineering firms now. Dauphin street has come along way as well. There are 18 bars and clubs in just the downtown area alone that range from live music,retro,up scale,comdy,jazz and anything else you


I am all for retail downtown like you OC and there is a great need for it but as long as you have people wanting to continue to move out west and in Baldwin County change will never come. now statisticaly downtown residence has grown over the past 5 years. The developers I have talked to say that the downtown population and demographics need to grow for retail to come in.

DreamWevvin: Mobile is not a big dirty ghetto you are over dramatic, Mobile is really clean even the ghetto areas of Mobile are a lot better than some cities I have visited such as Chicago,NYC,Atlanta,Detroit,Charlotte,Tampa,New Orleans and several others I have visited.

I agree with OC about downtown needing a little bit more but as far as DreamWevvin`s point of view about the whole city being a dirty ghetto is strecthing it !

7spider : Hurricans doesn`t have anything to do with it my friend,Miami,Tampa,Jacksonville,Houston and other large southern coastal cities are hit with them every year and they all have rebuilt and recieved goverment assistance faster than New Orleans. New Orlens problem was due to the Lousiana goverment calling for help at the last minute and not to mention the city is below sea level , is in a bowl ,and sinking as right this momment.Mobile is trying it`s best to attract young proffesionals and bring in new industry with white collar jobs and the city has been some what sucessful in doing so but several of the Goverment contracts are on hold do to politics.


Former Mayor Dow had a plan called the String of Pearls which included The new RSA Tower,Convention Centre,Govermnet Plaza,Cruise terminal,Battle House and Riverview hotel restorations,and revitalization of Dauphin and Royal street as well.

Mayor Sam Jones have a plan now which is called New Plan for Old Mobile.It includes 2 more highrise office towers,1 high rise condo tower, the tearing down of the civic center and making it an entertainment district with an Atlantic Station type of development. Boat slips downtown with yacht dinner cruises on the bay. A life style shopping center downtown,grocery stores, chain resturants such as Red Robin,Ruby Tuesdays, and Fridays,A lited river walk, and pedestrian bridges along weter and Goverment street. Another Shopping center clled the Gulf Waters on Water street.Continuation of Dow`s Bring Back Braod st with trollys running down Broad all the way to Arlington park. Arlington park will have piers and a ferris wheel on the bay front. Last the Mery Time but now called the Gulf Quest Museum which will also offer Bay excursions.


So change is coming and the down turn of the economy is playing a role in the process but it`s coming. There is a huge amount of private investments for the New Plan For Old Mobile lay out and Dale Jr is one of the private investors in the plan.Every one is holding out for the economy and the Gulf Quest musem with bay excursions will break ground this summer.
Excellent post Port City. I can tell you are well informed and know the direction of the city. Good point about Miami, Tampa and Houston and their dealings with hurricanes, as opposed to the issues and corruption in New Orleans. Things don't change overnight, I've seen ghetto areas and undesireable areas in NY and Atlanta in time turn around, but like you said it'll take some new money, and patience.
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Old 05-25-2009, 04:50 PM
 
Location: Mobile,Al(the city by the bay)
2,264 posts, read 2,933,038 times
Reputation: 682
Your right 7spider my Uncle who has been living in Califonia for 15 years and now Atlanta for the past 2 came back home a month ago for a funeral and saw the changes in Mobile. All of the new huge houses and old houses in Mobile. All the expensive luxury cars I see in Mobile are all do to old Money. Money is here in Mobile and just like Dowtowndoll mentioned all of the Movers and shakers are still in Mobile with money. New money is the change the city needs 13,000 millionare families in this city with no fortune 500 is just mind blowing to me.

Change is coming
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