Q: With all of the exciting development going on northwest of Huntsville, has any thought been given to the empty buildings and parking lots in southeast Huntsville? Specifically, the former Haysland Square – the buildings are empty and weeds are growing. It is a sad sight for what was once a bustling place. Are there any plans for redevelopment?
A: City Councilman John Olshefski said revitalizing South Huntsville Square (formerly Haysland Square) is one of his top priorities.
The retired Army colonel said he has met twice with brothers John and Jim Hays, who own the property, and is trying to schedule a meeting with Aronov Realty of Montgomery, which handles the leasing.
“It’s a focal point of my vision,” Olshefski said Tuesday. “I’m doing everything I can.”
The oldest part of the 359,000-square-foot shopping center has just two tenants – Staples and Burkes Outlet – and nine empty storefronts. The newer section, anchored by Home Depot and dotted with smaller stores including RadioShack and CiCi’s Pizza, is in better shape.
Olshefski said he doesn’t buy arguments that the Memorial Parkway overpass at Weatherly Road has hurt the shopping center. He pointed out that Costco, located near a similar overpass, is thriving.
“If we could get a Trader Joe’s in there, it would go hot,” Olshefski said.
Q. The digital information signs in Madison are distracting. I am all for messages that announce new traffic flow or new speed limits or that school is starting soon, but keep the messages “short and sweet.” They become in some respects like reading a large text message while driving. Why does Madison want to distract drivers like this? – Dave Jernigan, Madison
A. Madison Police Chief Larry Muncey said the use of the mobile signs by the Police Department around the city “clearly is not to distract drivers, but to better inform them. However, we can always improve and are working on improving our messages.”
The message on the signs, now positioned at the Bradford Farms crosswalk on Hughes Road, Muncey said, is intended to caution people to stop for kids in the crosswalk. The signs read: “Yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.”
- Yvonne Betowt