ASHFORD, Ala. (WDHN) — Revitalizing downtown Ashford has been a mission for town officials since 2018 — when they were awarded a grant to begin their master plan.

“Get it ready for growth and attract people to wanna start a business here and relocate and live here,” said Brad Kimbro, with the Ashford Downtown Ashford Redevelopment Authority.

The first part of that strategic plan came to fruition after facing setbacks mainly due to COVID-19 – and that’s a new parking lot where the IGA grocery store used to be.

Parking has been a huge problem in the small town for quite some time.

“It’s not a lot and as we grow with the business and we’re filling them up, there’s a lot of businesses that are new and you have to have a place to park your customer, and no matter the business you have to have parking or you’re not going to be successful,” Kimbro said.

Kimbro adds it’s also much safer because it was a safety issue with big trucks parking on broadway — a busy narrow road through downtown.

Kimbro and Mayor Barfield say the addition of this parking lot is just a small example of the success to come.

“We’re hoping for a new sidewalk project we have a park project going down on church street, we just finished an overdue on the baseball parks, and we had several new businesses that opened up this year,” Mayor Barfield said.

The Ashford Downtown Redevelopment Authority says the park will be finished at the end of the year and they hope to begin the sidewalk project soon.