FOLEY – A plan to study growth and plan development in downtown Foley has been adopted by the city.

The Foley City Council voted to adopt the Envision Downtown Foley plan. The plan is intended to be included with the city Comprehensive Plan and other guides to be used on preparing for future growth.

Work began on the plan in early 2022. Darrelyn Dunmore, executive director of Foley Main Street, said. She said more than 400 people took part in the plan and about 950 provided information in a marketing study.

“We have a lot of representation with the city as well as with business owners and with people that live here,” she told council members.

The plan was developed by Foley Main Street and the organization’s sponsors, community partners and the city of Foley. The project will support businesses and capitalize on business and development opportunities to help downtown Foley continue to develop.

Envision Downtown Foley is a special planning initiative helping the community visualize the possibilities and set course toward the future. Community- and market-driven strategies will help efforts to enhance downtown Foley as a better and more vibrant place to visit, work, live and play.

The plan is a review of the opportunities for downtown Foley. The project is intended to study ideas and directions for the area and to enhance discussions about the direction for the area.

Studies conducted as part of the plan looked at features such as population growth and housing trends.

Foley’s population more than doubled between 2000 and 2020, from 9,659 to 20,335, according to census reports. That rate of 110.5% exceeded growth for Baldwin County at 65.1%, Alabama at 13 % and the United States at 17.8%.

That growth rate is projected to continue. Between 2020 and 2021, Foley’s population increased 8.4% to 22,063. The rate for all of Baldwin County was 3.2% to 239,294, according to census estimates.

Housing units, an important consideration for business prospects and commercial developers, also increased at a rapid rate over the two decades. Foley gained almost 5,400 housing units since 2000, an increase of 119.4% to 9,911 units  in 2020. Baldwin County gained nearly 50,000 housing units, bringing the total number to 124,148 in 2020—a 67.1% increase over the 20-year period. 

Accommodating growth in population and housing units will be a factor in future planning efforts. The growth patterns do suggest that more people are interested in the qualities of the Foley and that growth can increase interest in downtown Foley for living, working, shopping, investing, doing business or engaging in

This Envision Downtown Foley project was initiated by Foley Main Street. Supporters include the city of Foley, C-Spire, South Baldwin Regional Medical Center, Thompson Engineering and other Foley Main Street partners and sponsors. 

Downtown Professionals Network, a research and planning collaborative that has worked on Foley projects in the past, also worked on the project.