St. Clair County: The Growing Lakeside Community - WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

St. Clair County: The Growing Lakeside Community

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St. Clair County is a treasure I never knew that Alabama had. The county is interesting in that it has two county seats, Pell City and Ashville. St. Clair County is only one of two counties in Alabama and only one of 33 in the United States with two county seats. Why does it have two county seats you may ask? Let me give you a little history. Ashville is the original county seat. In fact, the county is older than the state of Alabama. Because the county is so big and separated by Backbone Mountain, it was necessary to name Pell City as the second county seat. Now, Ashville is known as a historical town, while Pell City is the fastest growing, booming city in St. Clair.

Speaking of fastest growing, St. Clair County is the third fastest growing county in the state. It's apparent when you see the amount of home construction going on in the area. Because of its convenience to downtown Birmingham and Atlanta, many people move to St. Clair to get out of the hustle and bustle of the big city. It's a community that is more close-knit than Birmingham, and everyone seems to know everyone else. While we were talking to one lawyer in Pell City on the street corner, we saw him yell out to at least six people passing by and knew them by name. That's the kind of community that St. Clair has. People know each other and are involved in each other's lives. That closeness is something that draws people to the county, but it's not just the area's Southern charm that makes St. Clair a great place to live.

Leadership in St. Clair County really cares about quality of life within the community. Each county and city leader that we talked to told us that quality of life was a priority for the communities they served. It's evident in the little things we saw, like a splash pad for children in Springville. The community built the splash pad for kids to enjoy especially during the summer. This is a project that wouldn't be on the top of the list for some communities, but because quality of life and family is so important to the leaders of the community in St. Clair, it became a priority for them. Now, the project is booming, and people in the community really like going there, evidenced by the hundreds of children there on a Wednesday afternoon while we were there.

Another priority for leaders in St. Clair is growth of businesses in the community. The county just built a new hospital, St. Vincent's St. Clair, and a veteran's home. These places added jobs and dollars to the county, as well as increased the county's profile to surrounding areas. The St. Clair County Economic Development Council is continually working with other county leaders to bring in companies to the county. Leaders seem to work together well, going to regular mayor's meetings and incorporating others when planning a new project. The EDC says there are many projects that they are working on to bring new companies into the area, and they are working hard with leaders of the community to achieve that goal. The synergy between leaders in the community is definitely something that's working right for this county. By putting aside differences between the cities within the county, the leaders are able to work together for the betterment of the county and its people.

Another thing that is working for St. Clair County is its natural resources, namely Lake Logan-Martin. We were very lucky to have Lakeside Landing owners Blair and Cindy Goodgame take us out on this treasure. We went boating on the lake, taking a tour of all the things the water can offer. One of the main things was the real estate. Since St. Clair is such a fast-growing county, real estate is essential to growth. Lake Logan-Martin offers just that. Whether you're looking for land or an already existing house, the lake offers beautiful areas to live. The other resource the lake offers is tourism. While out with the Goodgames, we ran into plenty of people out fishing and boating. We met one man who was from Louisville, Kentucky, who comes to St. Clair every year just to fish crappie. This kind of tourism turns into dollars for the county and its businesses.

Whether it's the synergy between county leaders, the cities' Southern charm, the fast-growing areas, or just its natural resource of Lake Logan-Martin, St. Clair County has plenty of things working economically for it. It is a beautiful county with a lot to offer both economically and for quality of life. While it's a community that is more laid-back in feel, there is a lot buzzing underneath the surface business-wise. St. Clair is a treasure for Alabama that is changing almost daily with the amount of growth it is seeing. You should visit the county even if just for a day on the lake to experience its charm, growth, and natural resources.

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