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Southside NEXT is a community driven and vision oriented approach to create an actionable set of development goals for the next 15 to 20 years of the city's future.


Southside is one of the fastest growing cities in northeast Alabama and growth and development in the city is expected to continue in the coming years. If left to its own devices, future growth could strain city services and endanger the character, functionality, and prosperity of the community. However, if proactively planned, growth and development has the potential to strengthen city services, amenities, and economic opportunities... ultimately benefiting everyone in the community.

Planning is a powerful force for good in our communities. In order to secure the long term viability and successful implementation of the plan's development goals, the plan was developed around a robust public involvement campaign that put the community of Southside at the center of the decision making process. It is critical that the planning process honors the values and goals of the people living in Southside, and as such, public input and participation has been the foundation of all development recommendations.



The planning process took part in four broad phases over the course of about 16 months, during and after which a supplemental plan was developed to update the city's zoning standards along AL Hwy 77. The planning process began with an introductory research and analysis phase. During this period, demographic trends from multiple government sources were assessed to determine the context in which the rest of the planning process would take place. This helped to identify the existing trends and conditions in Southside that needed to be taken into account when prioritizing future strategic investments. The initial research phase was followed by a period of extensive public engagement. During this outreach period, data from the research phase was presented to the public and residents' input was gathered to establish a shared vision for the city's future. Using the public's input from a variety of engagement tools that included online and in-person methods, the plan development phase of the process began to distill the feedback into a set of tangible goals and organize those goals into broad development strategies. These development strategies were then presented back to the public for another round of input to ensure that the plan was aligned with the public's vision for the future. Following a revision period based on this additional feedback, the implementation phase of the process began. During this period, the plan's development goals and strategies were organized into an action matrix to support implementation. The plan was formally adopted as the city's comprehensive policy by the city council and action on the goals identified in the plan was able to begin.


Southside's strategic plan is the product of a partnership between the City of Southside and the planning consultancy team at Goodwyn Mills Cawood. The ultimate success of the plan will rely on a broad network of partners, stakeholders, and interested parties coming together to make it a reality. Apart from institutional leadership, YOU, the citizens of Southside, are the most important accountability partners in the implementation of the strategic plan.

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