Rarely does a town live up to its namesake in the way Phenix City, Alabama has. Known throughout the 1940s and ‘50s as a den of iniquity, filled with organized crime, gambling and prostitution, the town has risen from the ashes and is currently recognized as the top suburb in the nation to affordably raise a family.
History of Phenix
Phenix City’s transformation didn’t happen by accident. As the location of the last true Civil War battle, this Chattahoochee River town had a hard scrabble beginning. Originally named Girard, after a Philadelphia philanthropist and slave trader, the settlement ultimately beat Las Vegas to the punch in claiming the moniker “Sin City.” The name took hold after the city fathers made a conscious decision to authorize illegal gambling in town limits.
Thanks to some civic-minded citizens and a crackdown by the National Guard, organized crime was virtually wiped out in Phenix by 1954, opening the way for this little town that could to change their tarnished image. Phenix City’s transformation from “Sin City” to “God’s City” was solidified in the hearts and minds of America when the Phenix City All-Stars claimed the National Little League Championship in 1999. From images of mobsters to baseball and apple pie, Phenix’s story has all the elements of a Hollywood hit – and Tinsel Town took notice, creating a 1955 noir film, “The Phenix City Story,” to tell the town’s compelling tale.
Always Making Progress
Even though Phenix City has made quite the turnaround over the last half century, the town isn’t even close to slowing down when it comes to ensuring their burg is a great place to live. The city mission is redolent with references to trust, high ethical standards and holding public servants and citizens accountable to one another and their community. From ongoing park and road improvements, to the establishment a Youth and Sports Complex and new Events Center, the current stewards of Phenix City take pride in their town and strive to keep it a top choice for families.
It’s impossible to grow a thriving community without a solid economic foundation. Phenix City understands that good intentions and plans only go so far, that’s why the town is highly diligent when it comes to fiscal responsibility and creating economic stability for the city and its residents. Their good stewardship has paid off; Phenix City recently received stable financial ratings from Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services.
Safety Starts Young
Phenix City is committed to the positive development of its youth. Emphasizing safety and security is a top priority for this family-centered community. One of the most assertive programs is an effort by local school districts to eliminate bullying in the community. The program is founded on the tenet that children who understand the importance of respect for one another will choose to lift one another up, rather than tearing each other down.
From scandalous beginnings to a model community for families, Phenix City has had a rich journey of self-discovery and community empowerment. It’s easy to see why this little, river town has become a haven of safety, security and prosperity for American families.
Written by Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca has honed her safety and security skills as both a single mom and a college director. Being responsible for the well-being of others helped her learn how to minimize risk and create safe environments. Learn more