Tuscaloosa three years later: Stronger, safer, smarter

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — It all started with chalkboards that were stationed around five locations in Tuscaloosa.  At the top of the board were the words, “Tuscaloosa is….” The public was asked to fill in the blank. City officials tell CBS42 they had been looking for a way to engage their citizens and update them on the progress that had been made since the 2011 April tornadoes.

The chalkboards held the answer. The city’s motto which was adopted after the storms, “Building Back: Stronger, Safer, Smarter” appeared in some form on all of those chalkboards.

“We actually found that a lot of our projects that we have fit into the category of making Tuscaloosa stronger, making Tuscaloosa safer, or making Tuscaloosa smarter,” explains Megan Brantley, the city’s Public Outreach Coordinator.

So that became the theme of a series of three recovery videos that will debut Thursday evening at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater.

“We wanted to give the public a glimpse of projects that either have already developed or are soon to come,” Brantley says. The videos feature 30 seconds worth of the chalkboard messages and an additional 30 seconds highlighting each theme.

For example, the “Stronger” video offers a glimpse at Habitat for Humanity projects, the planned City Walk, and the new Training and Logistics Center.

The “Smarter” video shows the newly unveiled recycling center, the Edge Business Incubator, and the planned Alberta Technology Library. The “Safer” video shows the Alberta Fire Station, which is currently under construction, the city’s new alert system, and the East Police Precinct.

“Seeing it in black and white on a piece of paper doesn’t really get people excited,” explains Savannah Howell, Community Development Program Manager. “We’re hoping that these videos will be a great tool to show what the city envisions for the future and also a tool that people can share with each other.”

The videos will begin playing at the amphitheater starting at 6:00 p.m. before the “Mercy Me” concert.

The concert starts at 7:00 p.m.

The videos will also be going live this evening on various social media sites.

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