October 22, 2015

Minutes of the Rotary Meeting – October 22, 2015
By: Henry R. Seawell, IV
Invocation, Song, Music and Pledge
Robbie McClure called the meeting to order. Garrett Williamson gave the invocation.
Larry Sindel led the song and pledge. He was accompanied by Bill Oppenheimer on the piano.
Introduction of Guests and Visitors: Tom Martenstein
Student Guest: The student of the week was DeShawn Sewer, a Senior from B.C. Rain High School, introduced by Saty Putcha.
The Touchpoints winner for September 2015 was Cart Blackwell. A donation was made to The Friends of Magnolia Cemetery in his honor.
Speaker: Ashley M. Dukes, presenting on behalf of the “Midtown Mobile Movement”
Ashley M. Dukes was the speaker at our October 22nd meeting. Dukes obtained her undergraduate and masters in accountancy from the University of Mississippi. Her passion for Midtown Mobile began when she and her husband, Whit Dukes, purchased a historic home from Whit’s grandfather on Dauphin Street, between Carlen and Fulton. Dukes gave an account of the unanticipated devastation arising from the Christmas Day Tornado of 2012. After the storm and rebuilding, she became determined for midtown to turn over a new leaf and become a more livable, walkable city.
Dukes observed that, in recent years, the streets of midtown Mobile have become more friendly to automobiles and less so to pedestrians. She was inspired by Jeff Speck’s book, “Walkable City,” and was influential in the establishment of the “Midtown Mobile Movement,” which seeks to mold midtown Mobile in that framework. A walkable community is designed to grow pedestrian friendly infrastructure, promote accessible commercial development, and enhance visual appeal. The benefits of such are significant and include improved health, a safer community, and general corporate well-being.
The first project that has been embraced by the Midtown Movement is the Old Shell Road Project. The objective is to achieve walkability down Old Shell from Interstate 65 to Broad Street. If this goal is accomplished, a walkable environment will have been orchestrated – in conjunction with the Village of Spring Hill – from University Boulevard to Broad. Once this lofty goal is complete, the Midtown Movement aspires to create similar walkable thoroughfares along the remaining midtown corridors.
A charrette will be held from November 18 – 20, 2015, giving midtown residents an opportunity to meet with urban planners and attempt to establish a more comprehensive strategy for midtown Mobile. The location has yet to be determined. However, interested persons can be kept abreast of these and other developments at www.midtownmobile.org, or on Facebook at Midtown Mobile Movement.
The meeting was adjourned.