Anniston, AL
Vision and Strategic Plan

Anniston, Alabama, located almost exactly between Atlanta and Birmingham, was nicknamed the Model City over a century ago due to its deliberate planning. But the community has faced hard times for many years. Multiple environmental disasters from military and industrial installations, social unrest since the civil rights era, and deindustrialization have contributed to five decades of population decline. For years, city leadership focused on the most pressing and immediate of community needs, with little significant long-term improvement. In 2012, the city’s new leadership initiated an effort to move toward a new, brighter future by creating a community-driven vision and strategic action plan.


The One City, One Vision process kicked off in 2013 with the formation of a citizen steering committee. In a city with a legacy of division, it was important to the process that this group represents all of Anniston. Over a period of nearly nine months the Team, committee, and city leadership held a series of community workshops, beginning with brainstorming sessions that collected 1700 ideas and 150 specific actions. A Community Summit asked citizens to evaluate goals and prioritize potential initiatives. Enthusiasm for One City, One Vision and its potential benefits for the community remained high throughout the process – with nearly 200 people providing feedback at the Open House. Citizens reinforced the importance of building community pride in Anniston, and in sharing their stories.


“The state of the city is in motion. For the first time in a long time, and in no small part due to the efforts of thousands of Annistonians, we’re finally moving forward. Onward.”

Mayor Vaughn Stewart


2015 Outstanding Planning Award for a Plan or Program 
Alabama Chapter of the American Planning Association

Realizing the vision

From investing over $500,000 in preschool programs, to hiring an economic development specialist, to building new infrastructure to attract business, and revising development regulations to become a more attractive place, the priorities of the One City One Vision are now being realized.

Within a year after adopting the action plan, the city began a process to rewrite its zoning code – the first such effort in over 30 years. Planning NEXT prepared Anniston’s first city-wide land use plan, utilizing a character-based approach. That plan served as the basis for the new zoning regulations prepared by Goodwyn Mills and Cawood.