Nestled on the banks of the Alabama River, our state capital has plenty to brag about: a storied past that set the stage for the Civil War and later the Civil Rights Movement; a newly revitalized downtown, complete with a riverboat, a championship baseball team, and a booming entertainment district; shopping and restaurant choices galore; and the list goes on.
Anna Buckalew, President of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, expressed, “Montgomery offers an excellent quality of life. Part of what we find when people are relocating to Montgomery is they are looking for a quality place- a great education and activities for their kids, family, faith, recreation, excellent healthcare options, economic opportunities, safety, and an easygoing lifestyle. Montgomery and the River Region have all that, and without any two-hour traffic commutes!”
Montgomery cemented its reputation of being a business-minded city in 2002, when Hyundai Motor Manufacturing came to town. Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Hyundai Power Transformers USA (HYPO), Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. (CNHI), Raycom Media, Rheem Water Heaters, Baptist Health, and Jackson Hospital are just a few other major contributors to Montgomery’s growing economy. This progressive city is constantly undergoing great positive change.
The booming downtown and Riverfront areas feature luxury hotels, a state-of-the-art convention center, and an 1,800-seat performing arts center, plus the spectacular Riverwalk and Amphitheater. The Alley Entertainment District, also located downtown, houses restaurants, bars, and retail shops, all surrounded by a unique ambiance only historic buildings and the scenic Alabama River can offer.
In 2016, the city entered into the tech arena full-force with the launch of the Montgomery Internet Exchange (MIX). It’s the only Internet Exchange in Alabama, and one of only a handful in the Southeast. MIX gives Montgomery’s citizens, as well as Air University’s Cyber College, local universities, and growing businesses, the opportunity to obtain much faster and reliable internet service. Montgomery’s visitors and residents alike can enjoy free Wi-Fi in downtown’s central areas, keeping the capital city more connected than ever.
In November 2018, Montgomery’s dedication to growth through technology distinguished it as one of the country’s top “Smart Cities,” as determined by the Center for Digital Government. With Mayor Todd Strange and the City Council leading the charge, the revitalization of downtown Montgomery is a great example of how private and public sectors have come together to work for the best. While it will never abandon its rich history, Montgomery is moving ever forward, and its many offerings make it a great choice for both families and young professionals to call home.
Downtown & The Alley The urban resurgence is marching swiftly down Dexter Avenue towards The Alley Entertainment District. Loft apartments and condos are being constructed in historic and new buildings alike— there are over a dozen already completed multi-family residences. The exposed brick and sleek steel accents of these lofts are designed to appeal to a wide audience, from young professionals to retired couples. Those seeking modern, hip digs will be impressed with the proximity of the lofts to downtown Montgomery’s ever-growing entertainment and restaurant industries.
West Montgomery Home to many of Montgomery’s tech businesses, as well as the Maxwell-Gunter AFB Annex, the west side of town is constantly growing and attracting more business to our city.
The Boulevard Making a circle that connects the North and South sides of town, the Eastern Boulevard is generally considered the boundary between East Montgomery and Old Cloverdale / Midtown. The area is home to the over 300-acre Blount Cultural Park, where you can find the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, and the city’s largest dog park.
East Montgomery This area is bustling with newer housing developments, ample shopping, and good eats. Traffic is a little more congested on the east side of town, but it’s always manageable in this smaller capital city.
Old Cloverdale Look no further than Old Cloverdale for some of the city’s oldest and most architecturally interesting homes. This area is home to Huntingdon College and Montgomery’s only independent movie theatre, The Capri.
Cottage Hill Cottage Hill is comprised of Victorian-style homes and other buildings that overlook the Alabama River. Home to The Sanctuary and Goat Haus Biergarten, the Cottage Hill area aims to introduce commercial developments while still maintaining its rich historical and cultural value.
Midtown Located smack in the middle of Montgomery, this area is known for its restaurants and parks. Zelda Place is affectionately named after F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife, whose family resided in Montgomery and whose house can still be toured today.
Located in eastern Montgomery County, the Town of Pike Road is a rapidly growing small town looking to build a solid future on the area’s rich history. With a population of more than 9,000, Pike Road has experienced phenomenal growth in the past decade. Town leaders attribute that growth to the excitement and passion inspired by the unique mix of old and new within the town’s boundaries.
Comprised of more than 40 distinct neighborhoods, Pike Road is home to some of the River Region’s oldest settlements. In an effort to preserve its heritage and plan wisely for the future, Pike Road legally incorporated in 1997, nearly two centuries after the first settlers arrived in the area. The town now contains a mix of beautiful new neighborhoods and lovely historic communities, both of which contribute to the hometown feeling generations seek in moving to the area.
Completed in Fall 2011, the first phase of the Pike Road Natural Trail is perfect for walkers, runners, and off-road bicyclists. The first trailhead is located on the southern side of Meriwether Road and includes parking, a covered picnic pavilion with charcoal grills, tables and lighting, and a restroom facility. The second trailhead is located at Veterans Park and features access to the mural wall, community ball field, and a public playground. The Town of Pike Road honors America’s veterans with commemorative bricks in the Walk of Honor at the Pike Road Veterans Memorial.
Introduced in early 2012, the ENHANCE Initiative aims to ensure Pike Road continues to grow in quality of life, community planning, public education and municipal services. Residents are encouraged to take part in the initiative by engaging in community activities such as the Agriculture Club, Arts Council, Business Association, and the Recreation Service Corps. To further support these ENHANCE projects, the Town is moving forward with the construction of an Agriculture, Recreation and Performing Arts Park on Trotman Road. The Pike Road Arts Center, home to the Water House Gallery, opened in 2018 and houses art classes, artists in residence, and more.
Pike Road Mayor Gordon Stone wants residents and others to think of the Town of Pike Road as the River Region’s old fashioned hometown, where citizen output drives future priorities. “Our town’s motto is ‘Welcome home’,” shared Stone. “These words exemplify the spirit of this town and the feeling we try to give everyone who comes through the door of Town Hall.”
Millbrook is the most accessible and populated city within Elmore County— it consistently ranks among the fastest growing cities in Alabama, and its four-zip code area, including Robinson Springs, Coosada, Deatsville, and Elmore, is home to nearly 34,000. Located 10 miles north of Montgomery, Millbrook’s close proximity to and inclusion in the Montgomery area and nearby Maxwell AFB have helped shape the city.
Millbrook residents enjoy small city comforts and a sense of community paired with urban conveniences, creating a relaxing and enjoyable way of life. Millbrook Mayor Al Kelley shared, “Millbrook is all about comfort, convenience, and community. Our elected officials understand that our citizens are our best resource. We want people to move here, stay here, and make Millbrook home.”
The great outdoors plays a prominent role in Millbrook’s quality of life. Mayor Kelley explained, “We have wonderful recreation opportunities within our municipal parks system, our local and unique Grandview Y, and the Alabama Nature Center, another crown jewel in Millbrook.” Nature’s beauty is celebrated at six well-equipped and maintained public parks that provide recreation for all ages. Other outdoor activities such as fishing and boating can be enjoyed at nearby lakes and waterways, including the Alabama River and scenic Lakes Martin and Jordan.
One of the most significant assets to the Millbrook area is the Alabama Wildlife Federation (AWF). The AWF offers a top-notch conservation center, the Alabama Nature Center, with miles of diverse nature trails, a pavilion, and educational programs for schools and the public.
Exceptional residential developments, outstanding outdoor and recreational venues, excellent public schools and leadership, quality health care providers and facilities, and positive local government add to the quality of life in the Millbrook area. Mayor Kelley stated, “ Our city administration is working hard to define our destiny by helping to create economic opportunities that make us vibrant and safe. We’re working to bring good shopping, dining, and employment options to the city, and hope to see a number of projects come to fruition in the near future. Check out Millbrook— it just feels like home.”
It all started in 1833, when founder Daniel Pratt arrived on the scene. He established the town of Prattville along the fall line of the Autauga Creek, and shortly after began manufacturing cotton gins. He became the foremost producer of cotton gins in the world, earning Prattville the designation of the “Birthplace of Industry in Alabama.” The city’s people exude that famous “Southern Hospitality”, and despite being named one of the fastest growing areas in the state, Prattville maintains its small-town charm.
Holding on to its heritage, while also focusing on the future, has given Prattville a character all its own. Mayor Bill Gillespie, Jr. explained, “Prattville is a city where progress and preservation go hand-in-hand. We are truly a city on the move, and we are proud of our rich history, but look forward to our future as the ‘Hometown of the River Region.’ We are home to the world-class Robert Trent Jones Capitol Hill golf complex. Additionally, we are proud to have Alabama’s first Bass Pro Outdoor World, as well as many other shopping amenities.”
Patty VanderWal, President of the Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce, shared, “There’s a lot of opportunities here. Our community has the best of both worlds. We have the beauty of nature with the convenience of the city, and smalltown closeness with unlimited growth potential.” VanderWal added that Prattville’s growth can be credited to its community leadership and education system, stating, “We have strong schools in Autauga County, with a good curriculum and other opportunities for our children.”
There are plenty of things to do in Prattville for everyone from the outdoor enthusiast to the golf connoisseur. World-class golf is played in Prattville at the Robert Trent Jones golf courses. Prattville’s Capitol Hill is the crown jewel of the RTJ Golf Trail, and is host to one of the LPGA National Golf Tournaments each fall. Prattville is also home to a number of parks, complete with playgrounds and walking trails. Those with furry friends will love Cooter’s Pond Park— there is fenced-off play area with no leash requirement for dogs and their owners to spend some quality time together.
Prattville shopping mixes modern and historic storefronts, with a vibrant downtown district that is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. Winding through portions of the downtown area is a Creekwalk, nestled along the banks of the Autauga Creek. There are community events happening in the area year-round— Prattville’s annual CityFest is perhaps the most well known.
“There is no shortage of pride when we talk about Prattville and Autauga County,” VanderWal remarked. “Combine our rich history, our quality of life, and our focus on the future, and it all adds up to success. We are a community that is moving forward- and the best is yet to come. Our city and county are poised for growth in industry, small business development and tourism. We are proud of our progress and of our past. We encourage you to join our friendly community and witness the beauty, the history and the people.”
Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachians along the Coosa River, Wetumpka is appropriately known as the “City of Natural Beauty.” Thanks to the six-mile stretch of whitewater rapids, well-developed hiking and biking trails, and beautiful lakes, it is a haven for outdoor recreation lovers.
The city’s archaeological significance is staggering— it is the site of the most cataclysmic geological event in the area’s history. Some 83.4 million years ago, a meteor slammed into the shallow sea that once covered this entire region. Today, its remains are showcased in the four-mile wide crater the meteor’s impact left behind, with the city’s downtown cradled in its basin.
Outdoor recreation remains Wetumpka’s focus in terms of economic development. The Coosa River offers a great time for both beginner and skilled whitewater enthusiasts. The blue-green waters of 44,000-acre Lake Martin are only 20 minutes away, and the shores of smaller Lake Jordan are even closer—
a mere 10-minute drive. Both offer endless opportunities for boating, fishing, and much more.
The city is home to loads of gorgeous architecture that can be seen in its historic courthouse (built in 1931), the distinctive Bibb Graves Bridge, and several pre-Civil War antebellum churches. Wetumpka’s bustling downtown district is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis shared, “The downtown business mix includes retail, dining, offices, and services that cater to the local and county market, visitors, downtown-area employees, and businesses revolving around the Elmore County Courthouse.”
In May 2017, Main Street Wetumpka announced plans to revitalize the downtown area, starting with the Tulotoma Snail Trail. Currently, the first stop on the trail has been completed. and more stops are expected to be added throughout the coming years.
Operated by the Poarch Creek Band of Indians, Wind Creek Casino and Hotel draws in business from tourists and locals alike. In addition to over 2,500 gaming machines, the property is home to several restaurants, as well as a 20-story hotel.
On January 19, 2019, an EF-2 tornado significantly damaged areas of downtown Wetumpka. After the storm, citizens of Wetumpka and surrounding areas banded together in an effort to repair the damage and get the city back on its feet— they labelled their project “Wetumpka Strong.”
When it comes to understanding what makes Wetumpka so special, Mayor Willis explained, “Simply put, people love living in Wetumpka for the small town charm it offers and leisurely lifestyle. The abundance of walking trails and recreational biking and hiking trails is ideal for the outdoor enthusiast. Wetumpka’s rich history and preserved sites such as the Elmore County Historical Museum and the Black History Museum attract locals and foreigners. It’s easy to fall in love with Wetumpka because of its diverse events that feature fun for the entire family.”