Whitewater Avenue didn’t open as planned on the Phenix City riverfront on Thursday, but that didn’t stop an estimated crowd of 300 from attending the street dance with Motown sounds, assorted foods and games for the children.
Mayor Eddie Lowe said it was the first event of the Riverfront Fall Series, but it certainly won’t be the last.
“Why are we doing this?” he asked the crowd sitting in lawn chairs. “We want to engage our community to have a quality of life right here in positively one Phenix City. We need to be proud of that, but it also sends the message at the most important time that we are unified as a city, regardless of what’s being said.”
Lowe said bad dirt and other issues delayed the work on the street featuring Troy University and Courtyard Marriott, but the work possibly could be completed by the end of this month.
The street dance was sponsored by the city of Phenix City and co-sponsored by W.C. Bradley Co., Whitewater Express, Chattahoochee Brewing Company, Troy University, the Courtyard Marriott and Positively Phenix City.
After working for years at Fieldcrest Mill in Columbus, Cathy Radford said she never would have thought in a million years that the city would have made so much progress on the riverfront.
“It has come a long way,” said Radford of Phenix City.
Dennis Vaughn of Phenix City said he wants to see more events in the area. He said events can help change people’s perception of Phenix City. “Hopefully, we can get rid of the 1950s image completely,” said Vaughn, wearing a T-shirt from the mayor’s recent re-election campaign. “The only way is straight now. Hopefully we can get more. That is our goal.”
Some people in the crowd started dancing after the Las Vegas-style band, The Company Men, performed several Motown sounds along with some classic rock and other tunes.
A laser light show atop the parking garage took place at the end of the dance.