It was like the heavens opened up and shone down upon her, as a choir of angels sang “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” She was as smooth as a baby’s butt and as slick as Mobile Bay on the calmest day of the year. Though she had been neglected and abused as long as I can remember, she bounced right back and was as beautiful as the day she was first born (I guess).
Oh, Ann Street, how you have waited, how we have all waited for your caretakers to pour the money and the asphalt into you we know you have so desperately needed and so richly deserved for years. It was a Fourth of July miracle!
Over the last couple of weeks, city workers have given one of our city’s most traveled and most beleaguered thoroughfares a poor man’s facelift. District Two Councilman Levon Manzie had been inundated with countless pleas to fix the aging street during his time in office. But with an $8 million price tag to fully reconstruct her, it just didn’t seem like it was going to be feasible any time soon.
That is, until Manzie heard about a new technique being used as a “stop-gap” for aging streets in Pittsburgh. In this process, they would grind down the top layer of the street (time had done a pretty good job of grinding Ann’s top down already), inlay it with filament and then resurface. Manzie presented it to Mayor Stimpson and city engineer Nick Amberger, and they got to work.
Since the project was completed last week, judging by the absolute jubilation from folks who regularly drive down the street, I would say, Councilman Manzie, this idea was a winner.
Will we ever long for the days when Ann made us spill coffee all over ourselves as we hit one of her numerous potholes. Will our cars long for the excitement Ann once provided them as she pushed their suspension systems to the very limits, like they were all-terrain vehicles designed for use by NASA?
I think not.
But we will all remember the days of Deplorable Ann and will one day be able to tell our children the conditions we had to endure for years and years. Sweet, sweet Ann, you look so beautiful I could kiss you.
God bless Councilman Manzie, Mayor Stimpson, City Engineer Amberger, the city of Mobile workers who did this work in the heat of July, the city of Pittsburgh, asphalt, filament, Jesus and America. It’s about time!
While Ann has gotten all fancied up, there are a couple of proposed developments on her adjacent streets that have gotten folks all worked up.
The first is a proposed Dunkin’ Donuts on Government Street near Dexter, just a few blocks away from where our beloved Krispy Kreme once stood and where Dairy Queen now stands. (Yes, that would be the Kripsy Kreme that closed because it couldn’t have a drive thru and the Dairy Queen who now has one of the longest drive thrus I have ever seen — so long, in fact, it might could accommodate the line that is always at the Chick-Fil-A at Dauphin and 65 no matter what time of day or night it is.)
The real estate firm working on the Dunkin’ development has put the project on hold for now because of concerns from neighboring residents. Rumors were flying that these residents were against this because they were doughnut bigots.
As a (doughnut) whole, Mobilians are largely intolerant of Dunkin’s dense cake-like “donuts” and fonder of Krispy Kreme’s lighter, glazed “doughnuts.” I think flavor and texture preferences as well as the proper spelling of these treats are separated by the Mason-Dixon line. We like Coke over nasty Pepsi too.
Just the other day, as my husband and I were driving by the other proposed Dunkin’ on Springhill Avenue, which is closer to our house, I mentioned it would be nice to have a place close by to get coffee in case we were out. He said, “Yeah I’ll drink their coffee but I’m not eating their donuts. I’ll keep going to Lickin’ Good.” He is clearly a doughnut-ist. I prefer Krispy Kreme and Lickin’ Good too, but I’ve never kicked any doughnut/donut out of bed.
But neighbors by the Government Dunkin say emphatically this is not donutism, but worries about yet another “drive thru,” noise, litter and the possible removal of oak trees.
We do love our trees here.
(Dear all future developers, if you can’t save the oak trees while developing a piece of land in Mobile, don’t even bother — especially on the east end of Government where our oak canopy is iconic. You may, however, mow down most other tree species, except Cedar, depending on what kind of mood we are in and what it is being mowed down for. Love, The Selective Druids of Mobile)
Development is a tough nut to crack.
While you don’t want yet another oil change place, fast food joint or dollar store coming to your backyard, you don’t want the property to sit there vacant forever and ever either.
And unfortunately all of the cute, quaint little stores and shops we have romantically dancing around in our dreams will probably never happen. Because Jiffy Lube has more money to develop property than those who want to open cupcake shops and dog bakeries — I mean barkeries.
Only time will tell if Government Street will eventually “run on Dunkin.”
But it seems we can’t be satisfied even when a development is cute and quaint and replaces a definite eyesore. Such is the case, with a proposed new restaurant on Old Shell Road by Lavretta Park.
On Monday, July 10, residents spoke in front of the Board of Zoning Adjustment to voice their concerns about a proposed new restaurant where the old Rester Brothers auto repair shop used to be.
Shaul Zislin, who owns The Hangout in Gulf Shores and The Gulf in Orange Beach, is looking to buy the property to put in a restaurant that would seat up to 80 inside and up to 80 outside in a courtyard. If you have ever visited either of Mr. Zislin’s restaurants in Baldwin County, you know the man does his properties up right.
This is exactly the kind of development you want to see built in your neighborhood, so you won’t have to fight off a Jiffy Lube. But yet, there were still a lot of “Not In My Backyarders” making some noise on Monday. Guys, I got a Dollar Tree, a Popeye’s and a new mega gas station in My Backyard in West Crichton. Though the Popeye’s Chicken is delicious, I would have much rather had this type of business. Be thankful!
Alas, I guess we are just never going to be happy with development in this town, no matter if it’s Yankee donut shops or cool restaurants with courtyards. I’m beginning to think a seat on the Planning Commission just may be the worst gig in town.
Oh well. I think I’ll drive back down Ann Street and forget about all this. After all, neither of these projects are in my backyard and sweet, sweet Ann is oh-so-soothing.
The Board of Zoning Adjustment held over the vote for the proposed Old Shell restaurant until August 7. Stay tuned!
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