Town of Brantley Undergoing Revitalization Project
Across the country, small towns are slowly dying away– but one family is stepping
up to make sure this doesn’t happen to their hometown of Brantley.
“When I was a kid growing up, on Saturday mornings, the town would be full of people,” Business owner Sally Byrd said.
Byrd grew up in the small town, before venturing off to start a life. A few years ago, she realized she really missed home. So she, her husband, and her two children moved back to the place she grew up. But the town wasn’t the way she remembered it.
“I told my husband that I wanted to bring Brantley back to the way it used to be,” Byrd said.
That’s when the Byrds started investing private money into the city– opening their own hardware store, and helping other business owners get back on their feet.
“It takes revenue to run a town. You can’t just run on grants, so our revenue has certainly increased,” Brantley Mayor Bernie Sullivan said.
Sullivan says this was a vital part of the city’s revitalization. In the last three years, somewhere between three and four million dollars have been used to improve businesses and infrastructure, including new sidewalks and awnings. Some projects were paid with grant money– others from the Byrd family’s investment.
“We’re all members of this community. We all live not too far away, so we’re very thankful to have this, and you know, be able to work and not have to drive too far away,” resident and employee Rayni Holmes said.
“It was a huge improvement. All the buildings were falling down. It’s nice to have a new, clean building that people can come and really enjoy shopping,” employee Nathan Nichols said.
Byrd says she’s hoping their investment will encourage other community members to invest and give life to a once dying down.
“We want to inspire other people to come and open businesses in Brantley, so that we can have more jobs and more benefits for other people,” Byrd said.
The revitalization project is expected to bring in at least forty jobs to the town.
There are plans to bring other businesses in, including a pharmacy and market.
The city expects all work to wrap up by the end of 2020.