"What's up with that?" - Fairfield business - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

"What's up with that?" - Fairfield business

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FAIRFIELD - AL -

Recently, one of our ABC 33/40 Facebook friends wanted to know about what's being done to bring businesses to the City of Fairfield.

Alvin Binion posted this question to our "What's up with that!?" section on our ABC 33/40 Facebook page.

He writes, "What's up with businesses giving Fairfield the cold shoulder? We need restaurants and stores to bring Fairfield back to life."

Mayor Kenneth Coachman recalls growing up in Fairfield, and witnessing its transformation.

"It is an older city moving in a new direction," says Coachman. "To see it transform, it has been interesting to see it, but I still know, we're not through yet."

Founded in 1910, Fairfield, originally named Corey, began as a planned community. It was built around the bustling steel industry at the turn of the century.

Today, U.S. Steel still has a home in Fairfield, and continues to be a major employer in the area.

However, mayor Coachman will say the focus of Fairfield's economy has shifted.

"We are moving to change our image of the city. We are quite fortunate that we have in our city limits, Miles College, who are doing tremendous work there. They are, the catalyst of the city now. That's the new boom for Fairfield."
 
Coachman will say Fairfield and Miles College compliment each other. Much like UAB and the city of Birmingham.

"Miles College is the largest employer of the City of Fairfield. We are looking at Fairfield becoming a college town. That we will have restaurants that will be attracting young people, and people in general through this downtown area."

Today, Fairfield's downtown features a handful of small businesses, but you won't see many people walking around. Across town, Western Hills Mall appears to be doing quite well with full parking lots.

But, not even a mile up the road, strip malls almost completely vacant.

So, is the city is getting the cold shoulder from businesses?

"I don't know that businesses are giving Fairfield the cold shoulder, as much as Fairfield giving itself the cold shoulder," says Coachman.

Coachman believes it will take more than restaurants and retail to bring Fairfield back
he offers this solution.

"We have to support our businesses within our city limits first. Most businesses want to know where you are spending your money. If we put a business here, would we be able to afford the business? Would this city be able to support a business?"

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