Downtown Ashford moves forward with redevelopment

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ASHFORD, Ala. (WTVY) -- More jobs, businesses, and families will soon be coming to Ashford. The reason: a nearly $60,000 federal grant.

That check will pay for a firm to help build a master plan. The Redevelopment Authority has chosen KPS Group Inc. out of Birmingham and leaders say it will pay tenfold for the citizens of Ashford.

"Looking forward to growth, and advancement, and more employment for everybody and a happy community for everybody," said Joan Hopkins, Ashford Citizen.

Joan Hopkins has called Ashford home for 19 years and she shops downtown.

"All the folks in Ashford are really happy about it and looking forward to growth," said Hopkins.

The USDA handed about $60,000 to help revitalize downtown.

"This is exactly the community we look for at USDA to fund projects like this," said Chris Beeker, USDAB State Director.

This partnership has been in the works since May and now the city is one step closer to moving forward.

"Ashford can be a lot of different things and can go different directions. What this is going to do, this USDA grant is going to help us have a plan, focus and tell us the steps it’s going to take to get there," said Brad Kimbro, Chairman of Ashford Redevelopment Authority.

Already in the works, a new ACOM clinic and soon this building will be demolished for more parking. The council's end goal - fill all buildings and bring jobs.

"Build it and they will come and that's what we are trying to do, to put Ashford on the forefront and make us move forward," said Denise Herndon, City Council.

And a call for action for those living in Ashford -
"I would love for our citizens to attend our meetings, give us your input," said Herndon.

"We feel if rural America prospers all of America prospers," said Beeker.

The firm will be in Ashford next week to meet with the advisory committee, so they can gather research before presenting their ideas.

There will be a series of public meetings with the firm as the project moves forward.