Presentation on theme: "Resting within the southernmost hills of the Tennessee Valley, the Town of Hodges overlooks an attractive landscape of agriculture and woodlands. The."— Presentation transcript:
Resting within the southernmost hills of the Tennessee Valley, the Town of Hodges overlooks an attractive landscape of agriculture and woodlands. The town of 288 residents (U.S. Census Bureau) is composed of 3.1 square miles, with a small business district. The majority of the towns citizens are employed in manufacturing jobs located outside of Hodges. First incorporated in 1913, Hodges evolved around a Post Office (Steele 4) and the Illinois Gulf Central Rail Line.
Hodges, Alabama is a hidden treasure tucked away in a rustic, beautifully rural, but still very accessible, part of Franklin County. Such places can be found across the nation and throughout northwest Alabama- a little off the beaten path, but within a short drive of most places- where opportunities for relaxation and recreation amaze visitors year round. Whether hiking and fishing at the Bear Creek Lakes, visiting the local educational center, hiking and riding the winding trails, or simply relaxing beneath the stars, Hodges offers something for everyone. The Town operates a recreational trailhead, which serves as a gateway to the host of recreational opportunities available nearby. Initiated as a campground for visitors to the equestrian trail system, the park and trailhead have become a focal point for a thriving recreational tourism industry in Franklin County. Each year, hundreds of families visit Hodges for these and other activities, and although the town may not be the most heavily trafficked locale, its hidden treasures are widely enjoyed and help to breathe life and opportunity into a town that once struggled to distinguish itself from the crowd, retain youth, and make its way financially.
Historically, Hodges economic success has been based on links to the regions railroads and highways. Hodges is located at the intersection of Alabama State Route 187 and Alabama State Route 172 in Franklin County. These two-lane roads connect the town to regional thoroughfares - Alabama 24 north and U.S. 43 south of Hodges. The town sits approximately 7.5 miles northwest from U.S. Highway 43, which is a regional arterial running north-south and linking urban centers in Alabama and Tennessee. Hodges was initially founded along the railroad, and the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad passed through the town of Hodges from its construction in 1907 (Steele 3) until it was decommissioned.
The purpose of the Hodges Economic Development Study was to identify future growth and development strategies for Hodges, Alabama. Hodges citizens and community leaders wish to expand their economic opportunities in order to develop a stronger tax base, greater opportunity, and higher quality of life in the town. The municipality is committed to this purpose while preserving the rural quality of life that is abundant in Hodges. This study focused on economic development strategies that capitalize on existing assets within Hodges and Franklin County. In many ways these are not traditional economic development approaches. The abundant natural resources, rural setting and relative isolation of Hodges create an ideal environment for leveraging rural assets, which contrast with economic development strategies that focus on industrial development. Hodges assets were identified and analyzed for the most sustainable method to develop each into an economic generator to contribute to the towns overall development goals.
The Economic Development Study was utilized to prepare a growth plan for the future and to provide the Hodges community with a chance to foster job creation and increase the revenues for the municipality. This study identified the need to improve local employment and municipal infrastructure. The goals established by the leadership of Hodges and its citizens were: Redevelop downtown New residential development Job creation through local assets Capitalize on regional water resources Develop municipal properties
The approach embraced by the Town of Hodges was derived from an Asset Based Economic Development theory, whereby local assets and strengths are used as the foundation upon which capacity for future sustainable growth is built. The method consequent of the plan was to maximize recreational opportunities for economic development due to the vast array of unique natural resources and topography within the area.
Be aware of changing local demographics and look for opportunities to improve services for changing population, including retirees and the elderly. These individuals will be a sizeable proportion of the local market in coming years. Be aware of natural resources and build on the uniqueness of Hodges with respect to the towns environmental strengths and rural location. These are features that are valuable and once removed cannot be rebuilt. Embrace the perceived weaknesses as strengths that make a high quality community. Improve connections between Hodges and the regions natural and cultural resources. Promote unique natural and cultural locations. Seek improvements that lessen isolation without affecting the benefits of seclusion: landscape, rural character, serenity, etc. Improve connections between existing assets and downtown Hodges. Downtown is the commercial heart of the town and is in grave danger. Once it is too far gone, it will be hard to revive.
Support regional efforts to supply the things that Hodges cannot- rail, airports, major highways, mega-industrial sites, etc. These efforts will create opportunities for Hodges residents without spoiling local strengths. Develop an action plan and follow through with it.
To become a destination and gateway to the recreation opportunities available in Franklin County.
Purpose and Goals: The Hodges Equestrian Trails Plan was intended to promote the economic development agenda of the Town of Hodges by studying the feasibility, economic impact, and design requirements of equestrian trails linking Hodges to various recreational sites in Franklin County. The study was a preliminary feasibility analysis that evaluated the design and demand criteria for equestrian trails in the context of Hodges environmental, geographic, and cultural assets.
In the late 1960's, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) began construction in Northwest Alabama on what is known as the Bear Creek Water Control Project. The project was overseen and is now controlled by the Bear Creek Development Authority or BCDA. Over the years, there have been 15 public use areas developed by the BCDA.
These developments have made possible, among other things, public use areas for camping, fishing, swimming, picnicking and boating. In collaboration with the Town of Hodges the before mentioned Rock Bridge Canyon Equestrian Park Trailhead and approximately 40 miles of equestrian trails are currently under construction.
Scope: this project consists of the construction of an equestrian trail day-use facility and is essential to support both the Illinois Central Equestrian Trail and Bear Creek Development Authority Equestrian Trail systems. Town of Hodges Match Funding Contribution: $35,940.00 LWCF Grant Award: $142,759.00 Total Project Cost: 179,699.00 Status: Under Construction
Scope: Purchase of 290 acres of former Illinois Central Railroad from the Norfolk Southern Company to create a 24 mile equestrian trail in Franklin County. Town of Hodges Match Funding Contribution: $171,494.00 LWCF Grant Award: $171,493.00 Total Project Cost Estimated: $342,987.00 Status: Property purchase under negotiation