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Mobile leaders asking for input to help shape the future Africatown Welcome Center

Africatown welcome sign, 2017
Wikipedia
Africatown welcome sign, 2017

Planning for the future Africatown Welcoming Center in the city of Mobile continues. The city has already hosted two previous meetings, in which leaders sought for the community to weigh in on how this important space will look and feel once it is completed.

Keysha Brown is the Director of Community Affair for the City of Mobile. She said receiving the community’s input is of utmost importance.

Monument concept design
City of Mobile
Monument concept design
 Town concept design
City of Mobile
Town concept design
Connection concept design
City of Mobile
Connection concept design

“The meetings were basically just a start to see what information the community wants, to get their feedback, to make sure that it was a Welcome Center that was designed by the community for the community and not being driven or push back by the city of Mobile,” she explained. “That was the main thing: to make sure that the community felt like their input was being heard.”

From the meetings, the City of Mobile’s design team has created three design concepts based on initial feedback from the community. These early concepts, which are “Monument,” “Town,” and “Connection,” are very preliminary. They feature different potential layouts and ideas but the same core components: restrooms, meeting spaces and areas for informational displays, exhibits and public performances.

Although progress on the design of the welcome center was achieved during the meetings, the City of Mobile launched an online survey and feedback form for residents in the Africatown community and other Mobilians.

“There were a lot of people that were not able to make the meeting,” Brown explained. “We want to make sure that all residents of that community, or descendants of that area, get input. So, if they could not make the meeting, this is another avenue for them to actually give their input on what they want that building to look like.”

The online survey will be open until Friday, June 9. The survey will allow residents who were unable to attend previous community meetings to provide feedback on the initial design concepts. Brown explained the survey is not meant only for residents of Africatown but also for different individuals.

“We have people that live in Africatown, there are people that grew up in Africatown, and then you have descendants of the Clotilda that have moved away,” she explained. “We want people that feel like they have a connection to that area to fill out the survey so they can have their input.”

Using feedback from the public, these three early design alternatives will be combined into one concept that will guide the Africatown Welcome Center's general shape, form, color, and appearance as the team fully design it.

“The purpose of the Welcome Center is to have a meeting place where when people come in visit, they'll have where they can pick up memorabilia or they can get information about Africatown,” Brown said.

To access the survey, click here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XSS26QX.

Valentina Mora is a student intern at the Alabama Public Radio newsroom. She is an international student from Colombia at The University of Alabama. She is majoring in Communicative Disorders and Foreign Languages and Literature. She is part of the Blount Scholars Program and is also pursuing a minor in Music. Although she is not studying to become a journalist, Valentina enjoys reporting, interviewing and writing stories.
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