Prattville, AL and Autauga County Offer Location, Education and Industry
Location, education and industry lure new residents
After living throughout the U.S. and in the Caribbean, Joe Mathis moved his family to Prattville in 1985 when he was in the Air Force. When Mathis retired in 1990, he asked his wife, daughter and son where they would like to live.
“They all said, ‘We want to stay in Prattville,’” says Mathis. “From the time we arrived here, Prattville reached out and grabbed us, and we knew it was home. It’s the most caring place we’ve ever lived.”
Living in Prattville, with a population of 33,000, gives residents all the benefits of a small, historic city while also being close to Montgomery and Birmingham, which offer big-city amenities, including airports with commercial flights. Other benefits of Prattville and Autauga County’s location are a three-hour drive to the beach and an under two-hour drive to Alabama’s main university campuses at Tuscaloosa and Auburn – handy for education and a perk during college football season.
“Prattville still has a small-town feel, but now we have the amenities we didn’t have when I was growing up here,” says Patty VanderWal, Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce president.
Progress and Preservation Go Hand in Hand
Daniel Pratt, Alabama’s first major industrialist, began building cotton gins here in 1833, and created the New England-style town of Prattville, now often called the “birthplace of industry.” Through the decades other industries, such as International Paper Company, have discovered Autauga County. Smaller businesses have located here, too, and downtown Prattville maintains a vibrant mix of offices and shops. Plans are now under way to revitalize the historic cotton gin factory complex, which could be converted for modern residential use.
“We’re looking toward a bright future while embracing our rich history,” VanderWal says.
High-Performing School System
There are 13 schools in the high-performing Autauga County School System. VanderWal says the school system’s test scores are high and its graduation rate is “exceptional.” In 2014 Prattville High School’s Lions football team went to the state championships.
Brian Davis moved with his wife and three children to Prattville in 2008, and commutes about 20 minutes to his job at Alagasco in Montgomery.
“The main attraction for us was the public school system,” he says. “Since moving here, we have enjoyed many aspects of the area and really feel connected to the family-friendly community.”
A Preferred Community
VanderWal says many features attract people and businesses to Autauga County, including the climate – the average temperature of Prattville is 63 degree.
With its pivotal location on Interstate 65, local leaders are working to introduce their community to travelers, including the “snowbird” population that spends winters on the coast. The key, VanderWal says, is to get visitors to stay the night and experience the quaintness of the town, and visit its shops and attractions such as Prattaugan Museum, the Creekwalk and the Autauga Creek Canoe Trail and Wilderness Park with its 60-foot-tall bamboo trees. Annual events such as the Prattville CityFest and Fourth of July celebrations attract residents and visitors alike.
Years ago, Prattville was called a ‘Preferred Community,’ “and the name stuck because people like to come here,” Mathis says.
“We’re looking toward a bright future while embracing our rich history."