Though even the smallest towns have not been immune to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Geraldine managed to have a productive year in 2020, which included the welcoming of new businesses and progressing on city projects.
“I feel we had a real productive year in Geraldine,” Mayor Chuck Ables said. “Since the completion of the Wastewater Treatment Plant/Sewer in 2019, we have seen some interest from several businesses and have been fortunate to see a few new companies locate [here].”
Some of the businesses that moved into the area in 2020 include D&S Quality Beef, which Ables said provides a great resource for local beef processing and as a high-quality meat market, and Geraldine Nutrition — located in the Plaza across from Tickled Pink on Alabama Highway 75.
Brooke Walker, proprietor of Geraldine Drugs, celebrated her 2-year business anniversary in 2020, a year she said was “full of unprecedented events.”
“We are very thankful for all of our patients that have supported us in our new building,” Walker said. “This year has been full of unprecedented events. We have been learning and adjusting to healthcare during a pandemic. With a vaccine right around the corner, we are hopeful that we will begin to see some positive changes come with 2021!”
Also, the town began working on a new Family Dollar/ Dollar Tree retail store behind the Shell Station at the corner of Highway 75 and 227 that should be completed later this year.
“We anticipate several other new businesses in 2021 and encourage people to continue to support our local economy,” Ables said.
In addition to commerce, the town made improvements to its road structure and local park. Ables said the council is working on plans to improve that park’s walking track as well as building a new T-ball field that has been in the planning process since 2019.
“We were able to re-pave several roads in 2020 and we plan to continue to improve our road structure in 2021,” the mayor said. “We have been given a generous donation to add some trees to the walking track area.”
In 2011, the town initiated its Donate-A-Tree program to help to re-establish the park’s landscape after a tornado. For $100, you can get a tree planted along with a personalized honorary plaque planted in the park. To date, Ables said the town has received 142 donations.
On a more somber note, the town suffered a notable loss when Councilman Tim Gilbert died due to complications with COVID-19. His wife, Melissa Gilbert, was sworn in during the year’s final council meeting to take his place for the remainder of his term.
“I hope to continue my husband’s legacy to do what is best for our town and community,” Melissa Gilbert said. “I pledge to work hard everyday for the citizens of Geraldine.”
Like many who want to put the troubles of 2020 behind them, Ables said he’s hopeful for a great new year.
“I am looking optimistically at a great 2021,” he said. “I am excited about our council and believe we will continue to work together as we have in years past and continue to improve services for our entire community.”
For its first order of business in 2021, Ables said the council plans to designate January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month to help bring attention to “this travesty that exists” across the state.