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City of Mobile seeking input on Africatown Welcome Center design

Africatown welcome sign, 2017
Africatown welcome sign, 2017

The City of Mobile is still seeking public input on the design of the future Africatown Welcome Center.

Funded by the federal RESTORE Act, city officials in a press release said the welcome center will be an essential community asset and early stop for visitors coming to learn more about Africatown’s founders and the last slave ship, Clotilda. The city began seeking community input on design concepts this April. A full design is expected to be complete later this year.

The city’s design team, led by global engineering firm Mott MacDonald, used input from two public meetings and a public survey to create the center’s structural concept design. Now, officials are seeking public input on exterior finishes, wall coverings and other design elements that can be incorporated inside the building. To gather that feedback, the city has launched a second community survey that will be open until Friday, Aug. 11. Readers can find the survey by clicking here.

In an online statement, city officials asked for additional feedback from local stakeholders and members of the Africatown community. Any questions about the center can be emailed to Residents can also sign up for text notifications about the project by texting MOBILEAFRICATOWNWC to 91896.

Africatown is a historic community located just three miles north of downtown Mobile. According to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the area was founded by the descendants of enslaved people aboard the Clotilda. The Clotilda was a ship that held some of the last survivors of the transatlantic slave trade. It sailed into Mobile in 1860.

The community also recently opened a Clotilda exhibit at the Africatown Heritage House. The Mobile Arts Council reports the display will share the experiences of the 110 captives, including artifacts of the shipwreck as well as the journey to and from Africa. Tickets can be purchased online. The heritage house offers individual tickets as well as group and school tours.

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