The City Heartbeat

Pulsing with information about Athens

Dekko Foundation grant to help fund Sunrise Park

The City of Athens will utilize a $250,000 grant from Dekko Foundation to turn an abandoned chicken plant site into a park featuring a splash pad and all-inclusive playground.

In 2009, Pilgrim’s Pride, located on 32 acres on Pryor Street closed its doors and walked away – leaving 600-plus without jobs and an eyesore by Athens State University and near Downtown Athens. After years of negotiations, the City reached an agreement with Pilgrim’s to purchase the property. That led to the removal of asbestos, dilapidated buildings and holding ponds; an inspection of bridges crossing the waterway; and the sowing of 32 acres with grass.

The City held community meetings and created preliminary design plans for Sunrise Park. ADEM performed the Phase 1 and 2 environmental studies at its cost to support the City’s efforts.

The Athens City Council has allocated $1 million from the General Fund 2021 surplus to start the project and match Dekko’s $250,000 grant. The project will increase outdoor recreation opportunities for children and their families, giving them an area to become more physically fit and learn to socialize with members of the community.

“We had a dangerous eyesore in the middle of our city that will become a destination spot for families and tourists and an asset for Athens,” Mayor Ronnie Marks said.

The Limestone County Legislative Delegation has awarded $28,967.50 in community grants toward the project, and the Athens Ladies Civitan has donated $2,500 and is discussing a second donation. Local developers have donated about 20,000 cubic yards of dirt valued at $1.08 million, and Athens crews are doing site work on the property.

The initial phase will include the entrance from Pryor Street, the playground and splash pad with bathrooms, parking and shade structures.

The goal is to complete and open this phase by spring of 2024.

Future phases include a dog park, amphitheater, green space, food truck area, Singing River Trailhead and retail mixed with residential on the west side.

About Dekko Foundation: The mission is fostering economic freedom through education. Dekko invests in projects that help children and youth, up to age 18, build the skills, knowledge, and character that they’ll need to travel the path toward economic freedom.

Council approves funding for three city parks

At its Jan. 9 meeting, the Athens City Council voted to allocate funds to improve three city parks:

  • $20,000 to install fencing at Robert Allen Tinnon Park, part of the renovation project planned at that site;
  • $60,000 to retrofit three existing tennis courts at Big Spring Park to pickleball courts;
  • $17,000 to install fencing around the basketball court at Jimmy Gill Park.
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Council passes paving project list

At a recent City Council meeting, the Council approved is FY 2023 paving list. Grayson Carter had the lowest bid at $2,587,640.13. Projects will be done as scheduling allows:

District 1

Holland & East (select streets from the last paving cycle that were unfinished)

Linton Road


Frazier St.

District 2

S. Madison

Sixth St.

Piney Creek Dr.

Founders Circle

Summit Lakes (portion of neighborhood)

District 3

Allyn St.

Plato Jones (Hine to Lucas)

Levert (72 to Third)

Strain Rd West and East

Luke St.

District 4

Kings Dr.

W. Hobbs

Westgate Subdivision

Campbell Subdivision

Lucas Ferry

District 5

Pryor St. (Jefferson to Hine)

N. Madison


Third Ave.


Green St. W

South S.

Lee St

Mayor's Minute

I know you've heard the phrase "shop local," but have you thought about the impact shopping local has on Athens?

At January's City Council meeting, I was able to recommend - along with Finance Dept. - that we set aside $2,955,000 for capital needs for our various city departments. That is from budget surpluses from Fiscal Year 2021 and Fiscal Year 2022. The breakdown is:

  • Police - $375,000
  • Fire $885,000
  • Street - $325,000
  • Sanitation - $575,000
  • IT - $245,000
  • General & Administrative - $5,000
  • Building/Engineering/Community Development - $320,000
  • Cemetery/Parks/Recreation - $225,000

About 40 percent of our revenue to fund police cars, garbage trucks, park improvements and other capital needs comes from sales tax revenue. By shopping local, you've helped fund that $2,955,000. One of the big ticket items the money will purchase is a $760,000 fire engine.

Please consider shopping, dining and fueling up in Athens to support these services. You're also supporting the business owners who buy ads in your child's sports programs, attend community events and who donate door prizes to your charity.

#ShopLocal #SupportAthens

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Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Events

Monday, Jan. 16th, 9am

Athens, AL, USA

Athens, AL

Athens-Limestone Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity March, 9 a.m., line up on the west side of the Limestone County Courthouse and march to the Alabama Veterans Museum. At 9:30 a.m., the program will start at the museum; includes light refreshments, reading of winning essays, presentation of art winners, and music.

Fiddlers Concert Series

Thursday, Jan. 26th, 7pm

302 Bryan Street

Athens, AL

IIIrd Tyme Out will perform as part of Athens State University's Fiddlers Concert Series; 7 p.m. at McCandless Hall. Tickets required. Cost is $15 for adults and $5 for kids under 18. Purchase tickets at

Black History Month Program

Saturday, Feb. 4th, 5pm

202 West Bryan Street

Athens, AL

Athens-Limestone Community Association and City of Athens present the 8th annual Black History Celebration dubbed "They Next Generation; What Are They Doing?" Will feature Chauncy Glover, local grad who is a three-time Emmy Award winning journalist who works with Houston ABC13 with MC Jasamine Byrd with Fox 54. Donations will be accepted for the Trinity-Fort Henderson project.

Chocolate Walk

Saturday, Feb. 4th, 1pm

Athens, AL, USA

Athens, AL

Athens Main Street's Chocolate Walk from 1-6 p.m. in Downtown Athens. Tickets sell out quickly and go on sale Jan. 18.

Ticket link

All of the chocolate on the walk will be donated by participating downtown businesses. The self-guided event will start at the Athens Main Street Office (107 N. Jefferson St), where ticket holders will get a list of participating businesses and their bag to collect their chocolate goodies

City of Athens, Alabama

Athens is Classic. Southern. Character.