Lee County Farm-City Committee tours revamped 1st Avenue last Tuesday


By Morgan Bryce

Last Tuesday, members of the Lee County Farm-City Committee toured the new businesses that occupy the nearly fully restored portion of 1st Avenue between 7th and 8th streets in downtown Opelika.
The group’s first stop was in the roasting room of Mama Mocha’s Opelika location. There, they heard from Mama Mocha’s owner Sarah Barnett Gill, Opelika Main Street Director Ken Ward and local businessman Richard Patton, who is credited for much of the progress in restoring 1st Avenue.
Patton purchased most of the historical structures in that district from Penn Montgomery, between 2006 and 2007, with the intention of creating a viable entertainment hub for downtown Opelika. Most of the historic structures were previously used as cotton warehouses.
“The idea has always been there, but it’s been hard finding the right people. We could have filled it with lots of things, but things we didn’t feel like were beneficial for downtown,” Patton said in a 2018 interview with the Observer. “We wanted to make a space that wasn’t just being used for storage or collecting but rather a spot that would add to the quality of life for people here in Opelika.”
The group’s next stops were 10,000 Hz Records, Sneak and Dawdle, Griff Goods and Resting Pulse Brewery, where they enjoyed lunch and refreshments.
Though nothing has been confirmed, plans are in the works for a new business to fill the void left by the historic Opelika sign-making company Dorris Signs, which relocated to 409 Ermine St. this summer.
About the Lee County Farm-City Committee
According to the group’s Facebook page, the Lee County Farm- City Committee is “dedicated to enhancing the relationship between farm families and urban residents by providing programs and materials that promote appreciation for the agricultural community.”
For more information about the group, like and follow the group’s Facebook page or call the Lee County Extension Office at 334-749-3353.


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