Athens 2040 discusses comprehensive plan | New

On Wednesday May 25, there was a public presentation of the project detailing the updated progress of the comprehensive Athens 2040 plan. This plan is a collaboration between the City of Athens, the Athens City Council, the Athens Planning Commission Athens, City of Athens staff, meeting hosts and organisations, the Center for Lifelong Learning, a team of consultants, among others.

Population growth

According to the 2020 census, Athens has experienced an estimated population growth of 33.9% since 2000 with 25,406 people residing in the city. The city experienced a population growth of 16% between the 2010 and 2020 censuses.

The population of Athens is expected to continue to grow significantly over the next two decades.

Athens saw a record 283 building permits in 2019, according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s State of the Cities Data System.

“This trend has continued in 2020 and 2021, even amid the coronavirus pandemic and an unpredictable national economy,” the plan reads.

Athens has an average household size of 2.33 members, which is lower than the Alabama and US averages at 2.46 and 2.57 respectively.

Athens has a median salary of $53,809, slightly higher than Alabama’s median salary of $53,171 and more than $13,000 less than the US median salary of $67,086.

Athens has a wage disparity where white households have a median income over $25,000 higher than black and Hispanic/Latino households. This is comparable to the wage disparity seen in Alabama and the United States.


In 2018, the working population residing in Athens was 9,076 with 13,547 jobs in the city.

“Athens plays a vital role as an employment center for Limestone County and the entire North Alabama region. While suburban growth around Athens has continued at a rapid pace, the city of Athens is far from a bedroom community compared to job centers in neighboring Madison County, contrary to popular belief. popular,” the plan reads.

6,806 residents commute from Athens to work elsewhere, while 11,277 travel to Athens for work. 2,207 inhabitants live and work inside Athens.

“It’s a model that has not seen significant change over time, despite the growth of the city. In fact, the patterns in 2002 were quite similar, although the population and employment base in Athens was significantly smaller at 11,514 jobs,” the plan states.

In 2002 there were 11,514 jobs in Athens, which fell to 10,691 in 2010 after the Great Recession.

Over the past decade, the number of jobs has continued to grow as the economy has recovered.

17.5% of Athens’ working population works in manufacturing, 12.5% ​​in retail, 12% in social work and healthcare, 9.4% in accommodation and food services and 8.9% in professional, scientific and technical fields.

Employment sectors in Athens are 17.1% manufacturing, 16.7% educational services, 15.1% health care and social assistance, 15% retail and 12.5% accommodation and catering.

Jobs in Athens generally pay less than those outside Athens.

“Athens remains an employment center for Limestone County and the region, even though a significant number of residents commute for work. The types of jobs in Athens differ slightly from those outside the city, with the notable sectors of science/technology jobs located outside the city and a significantly higher percentage of jobs in the city in healthcare sectors and education,” the plan says. “Income levels differ between jobs in the city and those outside the city, with increases in income for jobs located outside of Athens. Significant commuting creates a “different reality” for many residents based on their domestic work habits. »


A variety of housing types beyond the traditional single-family unit are needed to accommodate people’s preferences for how people choose to live. The city needs housing options for people of all ages, abilities and income levels to ensure that Athens is an economically viable place to live and work.

“The 481 residential building permits issued in 2021 in the city of Athens show that new housing is being provided quickly. However, the variety of housing types is lacking,” the plan says.

77.9% of housing in Athens were single-unit structures in 2019. 18.9% were two-unit structures, and 3.2% were mobile homes and other types of housing. 9397 units were occupied in Athens in 2019.

“Single-family homes are clearly the predominant housing type in the city. Of the total estimated number of occupied dwellings in 2019 (9,397), 74% of them were detached single-family homes and just under 4% were attached single-family homes. The remaining 20% ​​or so were either apartments or mobile homes,” the plan states. “This represents an opportunity for Athens to offer new forms of housing that will make the city more attractive and affordable for a wide range of individuals and families.”

Most of the town’s housing was built between 1960 and 2009.


“Infrastructure needs in Athens change over time as parts of the community move from agrarian to rural to suburban to urban. Service demands generally increase over time in these areas, and existing facilities expand, or new facilities are built, to provide minimum levels of service to existing and new customers,” the plan states.

City of Athens Utilities Gas Service operates and maintains 400 miles of gas line and related infrastructure with 7,500 customers in Athens, Limestone County, Elkmont and Ardmore.

The City of Athens Utilities Electric Department purchases electricity from the Tennessee Valley Authority and supplies electricity to 47,000 customers in Limestone County. It maintains over 2,000 miles of overhead cables and 300 miles of underground cables.

The City of Athens water utility supplies water to 10,600 customers. It maintains an authorized water treatment plan for 13.5 million gallons per day and includes two pumping facilities, seven elevated storage tanks, a booster pump station, 286 miles of water pipes and storage. of treated water. tanks with a capacity of 7.5 million gallons combined.

The Water Services Department of the City of Athens Utilities provides sewer services to 7,200 customers.

“The Athens sewage treatment plant is located on Sanderfer Road. The system is licensed for 9 million gallons per day. Current peak demand at the plant is 7 MGD under normal conditions during the winter months. The collection system includes 163 miles of sewer lines and fourteen lift stations to deliver sewage to the sewage treatment plant in certain areas,” the plan states.

More information on population growth, economy and employment, housing, infrastructure, community and cultural resources, historic preservation, transportation, natural resources, land use and community character, the concept plans and action plans can be found in a 200+ page document at

The documents detail current statistics for each category and plans for growth and evolution.

Questions can be directed to city planner Matt Davidson at [email protected] or (256) 262-1412.

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