Community says no progress being made in Moulton after fire six months ago

People in the community said there hasn't been progression in rebuilding, and it's hurting the local economy.

Posted: Oct 21, 2019 7:30 PM
Updated: Oct 21, 2019 9:43 PM

It's now been six months since fire destroyed the downtown square in Moulton. The city is no closer to making any progress than they were when the flames were finally doused.

That fire broke out on April 22nd and burned for several days. In the end, four businesses were destroyed.

Some neighbors told WAAY 31 they're frustrated by the lack of progress by the city.

Christopher Stricklin and his wife, Holly, just opened a new thrift store in downtown Moulton on Saturday. It's located next to the lot that went up in flames in April, when a fire broke out inside the Court Street Grill.

"Small mom and pop places, you know? They don't rely on a big corporation, 100 miles away to supply their finances. It's up to the community. That's how small businesses get by," said Stricklin.

Stricklin said he's been working on his store since August and hasn't seen any contractors at the fire site. He said the eyesore is hurting business in the square.

"It used to be real packed down here, and now, you're lucky to even see a few people a day," he said.

The fire was not suspicious, but people said it destroyed some of the most popular shops on the square.

Wendy Hazle is the director of the Lawrence County Archives and tells WAAY 31, "The fire took away four thriving businesses. The people that came to those businesses don't come to the square, which means they don't come and see other businesses on the square now."

She also said some of the businesses may not relocate in downtown at all. Hazle said the fire not only damaged the local economy, but history as well.

"The businesses we lost were on the National Historic Register. If we lose any more, we're in the danger of losing our National Historic Register," said Hazle.

Hazle said if the owner of the property looks to rebuild, the city should have requirements on what the exterior of the building looks like.

"I'm hoping that we can really start working on our town square and make it something people want to come to," she said.

The city of Moulton needs permission from the owner of the property to build on the lot, and right now, they don't have a definite answer from the owner. A salon owner who lost her business plans on moving back and rebuilding when things are decided on the owner's end.

WAAY 31 has reached out to the mayor of Moulton and a city council member for comment. We are waiting to hear back.

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