Progress Edition: Secret is out for Southside

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The bedroom community of Southside has always been one of Alabama’s hidden gems, but the secret is out!

Southside is the fastest-growing city in Etowah County and on the move to becoming not only a place to live but a place to work and visit. With 31.8 miles of shoreline along the banks of the Coosa River, Southside is The Loveliest Village on the Coosa.”

Under Mayor Dana Snyder’s leadership, along with the city council, we are seeing major improvements to the city’s services as well as working towards economic development.

Over the last 18 months, Southside has been working on a master plan that will lay out steps for the city to take over the next five, 10, 15 and 20 years. We have had tremendous community involvement in helping to shape this plan, in which Mayor Snyder’s goal is to make sure that as we grow, we do not lose sight of our history, values, neighborly atmosphere and all the things that define our city, all while insuring the safety and security of our citizens.

Southside have accomplished much over the last year.  On November 16, 2022, we began moving forward with one of the many crucial elements of the master plan with the groundbreaking for our new and modernized 10,000 square foot fire station. Once construction is completed, the Southside Police Department will be able to expand and improve its facility by using the existing fire department space at city hall.

In May of 2022, Southside purchased three garbage trucks and new garbage cans while beginning the city’s garbage collection as of January 2023. Handling our own garbage collection allows us to be more hands on and provide a better service to our residents. Just over a month into the service, we have reduced the amount of phone calls by 80 percent and are very pleased with the decision we made.

In the Spring of 2023, we are planning to begin once-a-month debris pick-up at each residence. We have restructured our Street and Sanitation Department, now known as the Public Works Department. We hired two new employees for the garbage services in addition to a full-time Public Works Director to oversee/manage this department.

In addition, Mayor Snyder and the city council began looking at infrastructure such as roads, bridges and drainage issues. In 2022, the largest street paving project in the history of the city was completed by paving over 30 roads. We are also in the design phase of addressing one of the largest drainage issues in the city and are near completion on another.

On the top of priorities for Mayor Snyder is a new northbound bridge on Ala. Hwy. 77. Both she and Rainbow City Mayor Joe Taylor have been working together to make this project happen. The two mayors are receiving unanimous support from many cities in the county and region, as well as the Etowah County Commission and state and federal governments. The Alabama Department of Transportation is currently in the preliminary design phase, which is a great sign. Mayor Snyder has had several meetings this past year and is very encouraged by the support and discussions with others involved. The city is currently in the process of applying for another federal grant to help with the cost of the bridge project, which is now on a priority list. Securing such a grant would help to move this project up on the list.

Southside recently purchased the “land between the bridges,” which will not only help in our efforts for a new northbound bridge but possibly help in developing that area to connect to Southside Landing in order to make a larger space for recreational development. The Southside Landing was opened in May of 2022 and has helped with tourism and economic growth. We created an all-inclusive park and playground, boat launches and a boardwalk. We have hosted several fishing tournaments and events, including Dinner and a Movie, Sunset Suppers and our annual Christmas Boat Parade. Blackstone Pizza and Bait Shack opened this past October on the landing and are thriving. We look forward to many more events and additions to this area in the future for our citizens use and enjoyment.

One of Southside’s biggest assets is the Coosa River, and we will continue working with Rainbow City, Greater Gadsden Tourism and Neely Henry Lake Association on improving our river and attracting events that promote our area.

Our students and youth are one of our most valuable assets, and Mayor Snyder is constantly looking for ways to include their voices and to encourage them to be active and involved in our community. These youths will be our future leaders, and it is important that we invest our time and forethought into getting them involved now.

The City of Southside Parks & Recreation Department is on the move with many events planned for 2023, including include numerous softball tournaments, fishing tournaments, Dinner and a Movie, Spring Festival, Easter Egg Hunt, Christmas Parade, Christmas Tree Lighting and Boat Parade and many more that are in the planning stages.

The City of Southside is focused on its citizens and improving the quality of life here. Southside’s future is bright, and we want to provide our community and visitors with the things they want and need in order to live, work, play and stay in Southside. There is simply no better place to live or visit than The Loveliest Village on the Coosa.

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