Haleyville, Alabama: An ACE Community

The Story of Haleyville, AL

The City of Haleyville is located in Winston County in Northwest Alabama.  It is a city of 3,901 residents, from a county of roughly 24,000 total residents.  It was first known as Davis Cross Roads, then Davis Crossings before later earning the title of Haleyville.  The name Haleyville came about after a gentleman bought a suit of clothing at the general merchandise store called Haleys.  An exchange for the price of the suit resulted in the new and final name of the town as it is known today.

Although small in population, Haleyville’s retail sector is strong, serving as the retail focus for a significant rural population living in Winston and Marion Counties.  The city serves nearby towns in trade area such as Bear Creek (6.5 miles away), Phil Campbell (10.4 miles away), Hackleburg (14.8 miles away) and, Double Springs (15.7 miles away).

Home of the first 911 Call.

Home of the first 911 Call.

During the 60’s, the manufacture and sales of mobile homes boosted the reputation of Haleyville.  However, the latter part of the 80’s were threatening to the city due to plant closings, which resulted in job losses, as well as the burning of the elementary school.  Then, in 2001, the City was hit by a devastating tornado that swept through downtown.  Yet, the strong tradition of commitment and entrepreneurship that still exists today carried Haleyville through these hard-hitting times.  Under the guidance and direction of the Alabama Communities of Excellence (ACE), the city rebuilt the downtown space, recreating a historic and attractive downtown as a new retail/service core for Haleyville’s large trade area.  Today, Haleyville provides a diversified economy that is distributed locally, statewide as well as on the national level.  These goods include: metal fabrication, supplier to manufactured housing, cabinet, bedroom and outdoor furniture manufacturing, wood doors, trusses, pallets and crates, swimming pool construction, production of sleeping bags, wholesale lumber and automotive engines and components.

Haleyville was one of the first communities to be selected to participate in the ACE program in 2003.  Through the hard work of devoted citizens, Haleyville completed the three phase ACE process and was privileged to be designated an ACE Community in 2005.  Most recently, in 2010, they were recertified as an ACE community due to the continuation of the plan they mapped out in 2003.

Upper Caney Falls in the Bankhead National Forest, near Haleyville.

Upper Caney Falls in the Bankhead National Forest, near Haleyville.

Mayor Ken Sunseri has been involved with the ACE program from the onset and has been instrumental in Haleyville’s success.  Sunseri says, “The ACE program offered avenues for all citizens to participate in community planning, and the enthusiasm of the ACE team created an environment that made Haleyville residents be determined to succeed.”  Sunseri went on to say, “Our citizens are our greatest asset.  They will work to make Haleyville grow.”

Sunseri states: “Everything that we are currently doing is a direct result of the ACE program.  More citizens are taking part in active roles within the community.  Prior to our participation in the ACE program, our community was inactive. Through ACE, we have established a vision: “We, the citizens of Haleyville, will maintain a friendly, small town, faith-based community while creating a positive atmosphere for educational, cultural and economic growth”.  Sunseri also states, “Through the ACE program, our consciousness of community development, economic development and the awareness of our assets has been heightened.”  Some of the accomplishments Haleyville has achieved include the development and implementation of two five-year strategic plans, a comprehensive plan, completed a two-phase downtown revitalization project, and formed an active historical society.  Another major success, which is a direct result from the basic tools of the ACE process is the creation of active adult and youth leadership programs.  Haleyville now has a broad base of leaders representing business, city government, education, health care, and cultural and historic interests.  The leaders are unified in their desire to expand opportunities for Haleyville’s citizens, focusing on the creation and retention of local job opportunities, services and quality of life comforts.  Largely due to the leadership programs, Haleyville residents have discovered that they are able to realize the continuous sustenance for achieving mid- and long-term community improvement.

Residents have recognized the importance of working with sister communities in Winston County as well as the greater Northwest Region.  Haleyville partnered with the towns of Double Springs, Lynn, Arley, and Addison to form the Winston County Cooperative District and the Industrial Development Authority of Winston County.  Recently, they purchased 815-acres and are developing an Industrial Park.

Local and cultural recreational events have increased as well, largely due to the ACE process.  Most recently, a Farmer’s Market was developed and opened in June of this year at a new location at Rocky Ravine Park.  Due to grants awarded, Haleyville has been able to upgrade playground equipment at Rocky Ravine Park and City Lake.  Improvements have been made to the city pool, and a new T-ball field was developed.  The children, future leaders of Haleyville, now have state-of-the-art playgrounds and a safe place to play.

Since 2003, when Haleyville began the ACE program, they have applied for 29 grants from various agencies, and have successfully received 26 of the 29 grants.  Mayor Sunseri reflects on the start of the ACE process and says: “the biggest benefit we have of the whole thing is the partnership between state and federal agencies and the technical assistance they provide us?  The technical assistance he refers to means which agencies fund which projects and the city’s steps to apply for the funding.  Former ACE Team Captain, Eloise George says “One of the main things Haleyville has gotten out of the ACE program is learning how to access resources around the state to get things done.”

Population and Income Estimates
City County
(2010) Population estimate: 3901 23787
(2000) Population: 4182 24843
(1990) Population: 4251 22053
(2010) Age breakdown
0 – 20: 939 5928
21 – 64: 2136 13871
65 – over: 826 3988
(2010) Median Age: 42 40
(2010) No. of households: 1702 9966
(2010) Income
Avg. household: 40812 43861
Median household: 26389 33151
Per capita: 17998 18487
(2010) Population within 30 miles: 121986 153687
(2010) Daytime Population: 3455 10770


(2010) Labor Force
Civilian labor force number: 9161 Annual employment number: 7783
Annual unemployment number: 1378 Annual unemployment rate: 15 %
Source: US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Note: Numbers reflect 2010 annual averages


(2008) County Employment by Industry (2008) County Wages by Industry
Total: 8230
Mining: *
Construction: 137
Manufacturing: 3651
Wholesale & Retail: 1066
Transportation & Warehousing: 186
Utilities & Information: 89
Finance & Insurance: 209
Real Estate, Rental & Leasing: 34
Health Care & Social Assistance: 747
Accomodation & Food Services: 401
Prof, Tech & Business Services: 474
State & Local Government: 1096
Other: 140


Total: $229,429,000
Mining: *
Construction: $4,349,100
Manufacturing: $102,756,300
Wholesale & Retail: $25,231,900
Transportation & Warehousing: $5,964,700
Utilities & Information: $3,789,700
Finance & Insurance: $6,615,700
Real Estate, Rental & Leasing: $632,000
Health Care & Social Assistance: $19,141,500
Accomodation & Food Services: $3,872,500
Prof, Tech & Business Services: $18,600,100
State & Local Government: $34,604,800
Other: $3,870,700



Source: Alabama Department of Industrial Relations; www.dir.state.al.us
Note: * Indicates non-disclosable data; included in “Other”. (Figures may not add to total due to rounding.)
 (2010) County Population 25+ by Educational Attainment
  4.8%  Graduate/Professional degree
 5.6%  Bachelor degree
 6.5%  Associate degree
 20.4%  Some college, no degree
 30%  High school graduate/GED
 20.3%  9 – 12th grade (no diploma)
 12.4%  Less than 9th grade


Tags: ,