From COVID-19 to national unrest, 2020 was a tough year. In the midst of the chaos, the City of Albertville managed to remain hopeful as it continued to grow and progress on multiple projects.

“Albertville has 26 major industries within our city limits,” Mayor Tracy Honea said. “We’re so proud to have them call us home and are grateful for their leadership that found a way to keep them going over the last nine months. We want to thank our small business community—our local merchants, restaurants, and retailers for persevering through a year full of struggles they could’ve never imagined and the ever changing unknown of whether or not they could open and make their livelihood from one month to the next. To our fellow citizens, it has never been more important to remember to shop local.”

Last year, Albertville announced several new development projects including Food City, Ulta Beauty and Five Below as the tenant lineup for the Kmart redevelopment project being completed by Hutton Development. The 50,000+ square foot Food City will be the first in Alabama and will include a Starbucks, pharmacy and other amenities. 

Additional project announcements in 2020 included the restaurants Buffalo Wild Wings, Beef O’ Brady’s and the expansion and relocation of Papa Dubi’s. All three of the concepts are expected to begin construction in early to midyear 2021. 

In February, Don Spurlin, of Spurlin Development, announced a multi-tenant development at the intersection of U.S. Highway 431 and Rose Road, which will include Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins, Firehouse Subs and Venture Out Supply. Construction continues on this site with an expected opening in late January or early February 2021, Mike Price, Director of Economic Development said.

Site work has begun on a 12,000+ square foot multi-tenant development next door to Jack’s Fast Food Restaurant. Developed by DPG Shopping Centers, LLC, the retail center is expected to contain Dollar Tree and additional  stores and restaurants to be announced at a later date. 

The Fairfield Inn & Suites broke ground in December and site work continues on the hotel project, which is estimated to be completed by August 2021. The Hampton Inn by Hilton was also announced in 2020 and work continues to move that project forward to a groundbreaking date, Price said. 

Albertville councilman Ben McGowan said the Sand Mountain Park & Amphitheater, which officially opened in November 2020, has been a major attractant bring new businesses to the area. 

“It’s hard to believe it’s only been two years since the movement of dirt began in November of 2018 on the 130 acres of land,” McGowan told The Reporter. “The construction of the SMPA became the economic catalyst for the projects we are seeing around Albertville today.”

Since last fall, the park has played host to a wide array of sports tournaments and events, which have brought families from all across the U.S. to Marshall County. The Sand Mountain Amphitheater is nearing full completion and concerts are already being planned for 2021.

With all the unknowns relative to the return of live music in 2021, these shows will predominantly be socially distanced, at a capacity deemed acceptable by state guidelines and artists’ management with COVID-19 still in mind. Dependent on what those guidelines look like as we move closer to live events, we will re-evaluate if we’re able to.

Not far from the park, the Albertville Museum got a new home downtown after board members and various other city volunteers renovated the old Jewel Box location. 

“It’s very fitting that the Albertville Museum now has a new home in our historic downtown,” Honea said. “The Museum Board and various city staff worked extremely hard to bring this gem to the old Jewel Box location and really do it justice. They’ve done an incredible job. As we move into 2021, we will continue to put emphasis on reviving the downtown into a thriving arts and entertainment, business, retail and restaurant district.”

In spite of all the city’s successes during 2020, Albertville’s city officials are hoping and praying for brighter days ahead.

“It is our city’s hope that as a people and a nation, we find relief from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the mayor said. “We continue to keep the sick in our prayers for complete and total healing, while we remember those that we’ve lost this year to an unforeseen enemy. We want to commend our healthcare workers and first responders that are on the front lines of this, and many other threats, every single day. Thank you for your service and sacrifice to our community. As brighter days glimmer ahead, we want to thank our industry base for all they did this year amid so many challenges and controversy to keep our citizens employed, to keep food on our tables and necessary products supplied.” 

Correction: Several statements were incorrectly attributed to Mike Brewer, when they should have been to either Mike Price or Tracy Honea.

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