Alabama’s Stagecoach Route

Leeds, Alabama’s Scenic Byway: Designated in September 2006, the Stagecoach Route has been actively promoting and enhancing their scenic byway. As an initial promotion, the management team published Stagecoach Stops, an 18-month event calendar that features historic downtown Leeds and includes scenic and historic photos of the byway as well as a list of attractions and events.  Copies of the calendar were given for distribution to Alabama State Tourism Bureau, St. Clair County Historical Society, Shelby County Historical Society, and South Shelby County Chamber of Commerce.  This publication was made possible by grants from Alabama Tourism and Alabama Power as well as private donations.  A 2008-2009 calendar is being compiled.
To establish a Corridor Management Plan for the scenic byway and promote a Comprehensive Street Plan with the City of Leeds as a means of launching a tourism industry.


leedsbywaycorridormap.jpgHISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF ALABAMA’S STAGECOACH ROUTE THROUGH LEEDS
Vision
To create a destination for visitors where natural, historic, and recreational assets make an enjoyable and educational experience for visitors and where potential business enterprises can favorably see the rich southern heritage that promotes a cultural atmosphere favorable to the businesses.

Mission
To identify, promote an enhance the assets of Alabama’s Stagecoach Route Through Leeds through the development and implementation of a Corridor Management Plan and through obtaining state and, possibly national designation as a Scenic Byway.

Goals

  1. Increase efficiency and effectiveness through communicating and coordinating individual asset/agency planning efforts as part of a Corridor Management Plan
  2. Develop a marketable entity in order to raise public awareness, appreciation and support of the area’s scenic-natural, recreational, historical, cultural, and archaeological assets.
  3. Increase visitation to the byway by targeted markets including eco- and geo-tourists, in keeping with the desired goals of property owners, resulting in positive economic impact for Leeds and the surrounding area.
  4. Provide a positive environment and growth opportunities for additional assets consistent with the theme of the byway.

Historical Chronology

2006 

  • (9/15) Official letter from Senator Wendell Mitchell informed the CAG of Leeds’ recognition for a scenic byway; CAG appointed a BMT.
  • (9/29)  Articles of Incorporation Signed
  • (9/29)   Leeds Scenic Byway Management Team was Incorporated.
  • (12/7)   Bylaws (Declaration of Conformity)
  • (12/12) Application for tax-exempt status was mailed.

2007  (1/23)  The byway management team is a tax-exempt nonprofit public charity appointed by members of the Corridor Advocacy Group as the stewardship organization for the Leeds byway.  The role of the management team is to preserve, promote and protect the byway.  Additional board members were included in October and new officers were elected.  Current members of the board include Carl Marbury (President), Ann Coupland (VP), Willa Dean Hinson (Secretary),  Hayes Parnell III (Treasurer), Chris McLaughlin, Carol Phillips, John Saddler, Cary Kennedy, Donna Lynn Isbell, Bill Whitmire, and Tim Jennings  have appointed an executive director and public contact, Pat Hall.  

Lifetime members include those who served as a corridor advocacy group promoting the naming of the stagecoach route through Leeds.  These members include citizens and officials from Jefferson, Shelby and St. Clair counties as well as representatives from Leeds clubs, homeowners groups and city council members.  Membership is free to interested individuals.  Interested individuals should contact a board member or e-mail pat@leedsscenicbyway.org.

As an initial promotion, the management team published Stagecoach Stops, an 18-month event calendar that features historic downtown Leeds and includes scenic and historic photos of the byway as well as a list of attractions and events.  Copies of the calendar were given for distribution to Alabama State Tourism Bureau, St. Clair County Historical Society, Shelby County Historical Society, and South Shelby County Chamber of Commerce.  This publication was made possible by grants from Alabama Tourism and Alabama Power as well as private donations.  A 2008-2009 calendar is being compiled.

Additional private contributions and grants were used as follows:

  • to design a take-one card promoting the assets of the byway;
  • to develop a website;
  • to plan public meetings;
  • to host a citywide conference, “Partnering for the Future;”
  • to host a citywide banquet for the 100th year celebration of the Leeds cement plant;
  • to commission an artist to restore an historic mural in historic downtown Leeds.

A total of $16,163 was received from grants and private contributors including the City of Leeds, and Leeds Commercial Development Authority Board as of December 1, 2007.  Additionally, Alabama Tourism Bureau donated 4 historic markers to be placed on the byway totaling in value $6,000.

Major Objective for 2008-2009:
To initiate a corridor management plan as an economic enhancement for the people of Leeds and surrounding counties. With the support of the Alabama Scenic Byway Advisory Council, the byway management team (BMT) will begin the development of a Corridor Management Plan (CMP).  We will request funding assistance from the National Scenic Byway Program.

Immediate Goals (2007 – 2010)

  • To establish a Corridor Management Plan for the scenic byway and promote a Comprehensive Street Plan with the City of Leeds as a means of launching a tourism industry.
  • To form a Stagecoach Commission based on  the 501c 3 status and official designation of  Leeds Scenic Byway: Members:  Leeds Scenic Byway President, Point of Contact, and Citizens and Committee  Members; appointed representatives (1 each) from St. Clair, Jefferson, and Shelby  counties, city of Leeds and other small towns along the 119/411 corridor.
  • To open a welcome station at exit 140 Leeds that markets the scenic byway at Leeds and the tourism spots of Leeds along with the towns on the corridor and counties of Jefferson, St. Clair, and Shelby.

The BMT has asked the city and the commercial development board to pledge full support and to assist with matching money for grant proposals.

Comments are closed.