ATHENS, Ala. — The Athens Farmers Market renovation project will improve the overall attractiveness of the site. Some of the new renovations include a freshly painted pavilion, new roof, and improved landscaping with additional trees and indigenous plants. This entire project is also very intentional about honoring the legacy of Mister Doug Gates.
Betsy Gates, Wife of Mister Doug Gates said this was her husband's dream." I'm overwhelmed. He was a wonderful man, and he loved Athens, and this was his dream. I don't know how to explain it, I mean, he will always be here."
He was a dedicated supporter of Athens Rotary for 34 years, a member of Athens Main Street Board and Chair of the Limestone County Parks and Recreation Association. Mister Gates was also a member of the Judge Horton Monument Committee, Eagle Scout Board of Review, and severed as First United Methodist Church Finance Chair.
Athens Main Street Executive Director Tere Richardson said Mister Gates worked for decades to improve downtown Athens. "Doug Gates was a beloved board member of Athens Main Street and a fierce community activist. He, he, pushed us to be better," Richardson expressed.
Furthermore, Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks shared another one of Gates' dreams. "Some of his partners picked me up at a rotary meeting and said, you're cleaning up the town. We want to go show you an area that is, looks worse than any other in your town. And it was the abandoned chicken plant on our street, and we've been in the process for a number of years for grants and negotiating to not only purchase that property, but turning it into a central park," said Mayor Marks.
Richardson said Mister Gates was very influential and fostered small businesses. He also helped many in downtown Athens get on their feet and stay in business. "He was also he also loved trees and parks and was our Parks and recreation Chairman for a long time. So, we're going to add trees in his honor here also, she stated."