This past week, my English teacher asked me what place is unique. As the sarcastic teenager I am, I was going to blurt out my bedroom, but she gave me a minute to think about it and I said "Huntsville." A few people looked at me weird, but let me explain myself.

Huntsville is one of the top technology cities in the United States, and yet there is a part of it that has a very country feel to it. I believe that's a big reason why many southerners choose to live here, rather than in a larger city like Birmingham, Nashville, or Atlanta. Downtown and to the west is more of a city lifestyle. There you can find Bridgestreet, Big Spring Park, and the Von Braun Center. As you travel more east, it gets to be more of a country side town. You can explore Sharon Johnston Park and Monte Sano State Park.

Before Huntsville was known as The Rocket City, it was known as The Cave City. If you live in the area you probably heard of or even visited the Cathedral Caverns. However, a few people know about another cave system of north Alabama. That cave system actually runs through all of Downtown Huntsville! It is known as the Big Spring Cave. Because it is a very dangerous cave to explore with loose rock and a stream running through it, the cave is completely closed off to the public and only a few people in the city's history have been allowed to enter it. Also because of Big Spring Cave, the ground of downtown is not strong enough to uphold any skyscrapers and that is why Huntsville will never become a high rise city.

Huntsville may never become a high rise city like Los Angeles, Dallas, and New York City, but that doesn't mean it will never become a big city. Through a very modern city lifestyle known as mixed-use development, Huntsville is predicted to become the largest city in Alabama within 15 years! What is mixed-use development? It is a type of urban development that combines residential, commercial, institutional, and office uses all into one. My personal favorite thing about mixed-used areas is that they are pedestrian friendly. Bridgestreet and Merchant's Square are the first mixed-use areas to be open in the city with Mid-City Huntsville, CityCentre at Big Spring, and Constellation being constructed as you read this article. All will be opened within 10 years.

Looking into the future, Huntsville will be one of less than 25 cities to have access to Google Fiber, which is gigabyte speed internet. Also there is a pedestrian sky bridge that is currently in the planning stage that will link east and west Huntsville, making the city more pedestrian friendly. Lastly, Huntsville in general is expanding both physically and intellectually. I live just outside the city limits in north-west Huntsville (literally across the street) but that will probably change since not only a Wal-Mart has opened this past summer just down the road, but there are several buildings being constructed all around my neighborhood. These include a mini-plaza that will include a Beaureguard's and a rumored Lowe's. All in all, Huntsville is a small city with a HUGE future. Just hopefully we get a Cheesecake Factory and a Dave and Buster's and I will be super happy. Haha!

- Quack