The City of Tuscaloosa has announced plans to expand the Riverwalk to West Tuscaloosa. Sounds like a great plan, right? It is! But here's what residents of that area NEED to know...

The extension of the Riverwalk is going to make the nearby properties more desirable. Who WOULDN'T want to walk outside their homes to a trail that safely leads to the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, coffee shops, gyms, nightlife in general? The section where the walk would extend offers the convenience of downtown living but a slight separation from the lights and traffic.

What does this mean for current residents? It means offers will be made for their properties to be sold for little more than current value. For a person who may be living check to check, having a home paid off plus another $20,000 or so may sound attractive. But let's look at the bigger picture: Hypothetically, an $80,000 being sold for $100,000 might sound like a great deal for the seller, but why would the buyer pay $20,000 more unless he can MAKE at least three times that amount on the other side of the deal?

You have a stretch of land between West End neighborhoods and the Black Warrior River, where if lots were cleared the view alone would add an additional $50,000 to the value of the property. Fix up the home and make it a cute little "cottage," "bungalow," or "craftsman" (learn the language), and the value increases even more. THEN, when buyers seek the property, the seller gets much more from it. And should eminent domain come into play (click here to learn how the government may legally take the property you refuse to sell), you still come out on top.

If given the chance, visit the Tuscaloosa Country Club and view the tennis courts, the swimming pool, and the golf course above the view of the river. Take note of the neighborhood between it and MLK (which turns into Jack Warner Pkwy). THOSE lots will become some of the most valuable in the city once the Riverwalk is within a few yards.

Throughout history, many families signed over deeds on their properties because they simply didn't know the rules of the game. Let's work harder to keep such days in the past. No more crabs in the bucket. If we share the wealth of knowledge, we improve the health of our families and communities.