Why Bragan Feldman Loves Shelby County"I wanted to work, live and raise my family in this great county"
Nicknamed the “Queen of Shelby County,” 35-year-old Bragan Feldman of Chelsea is heavily invested in her native county. She attended Thompson High School, where her dad was a biology teacher, and then transitioned to Chelsea High School to be closer to home.
Feldman attended Auburn University, where she earned a degree in communication and minors in political science,
She interned with NBC13 sports in Birmingham and the Media Relations office for former Alabama Gov. Bob Riley; was the director of Media Relations for the Cleveland Indians Minor Leagues; worked in Publisher Relations for EBSCO; and currently is a realtor with Coldwell Banker Preferred Properties.
Her husband, Zack, is also a Shelby County native and Auburn graduate. He was a member of Oak Mountain’s first graduating class in 2000. He teaches geometry and is one of the assistant band directors for the Spirit of Cahaba Marching Band at OMHS.
Bragan and Zack have a daughter, Grier Lillianne Feldman, 9, and a son, Barrett Benjamin Feldman, 6.
Bragan is a member of the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce, the Vignette Club, a Parent Teacher Organization volunteer and attends Lakeside Baptist Church. She also provides assistance to Grier, who started her own charity “State of Love” in 2015, providing smiles and collegiate team hats to pediatric cancer patients at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, as well as volunteering at nursing homes in Shelby County.
What do you love about Shelby County?
I was born and raised in Shelby County. I was offered jobs outside of the south and interviewed with large companies in Atlanta, but my heart always pulled me home. My roots were in Shelby County, and I knew I wanted to work, live and raise my family in this great county. The wonderful education system has always been a driving force for the success of Shelby County, the growth of the communities are far exceeding national rates, and the unique businesses and retail opportunities across the county are phenomenal. I would live here just for the food! But what I love the most about Shelby County is that sense of family you get in each of the communities.
Since being named the executive director of Columbiana Main Street, what have you and your team members done as part of this ongoing project?
Tapping into the enthusiasm and hometown atmosphere, Columbiana Main Street has partnered with forward thinking leaders within both the public and private sectors to form a realistic action plan for revitalization of the historic downtown that is attracting developers, businesses and customers. Over $1.2 million dollars have been invested publicly and privately into Columbiana Main Street in the first year of designation. This has significantly impacted vacant downtown properties, motivating property owners to re-invest in a vibrant and welcoming downtown. They have brought new events to the area like Touch-a-Truck, that have been extremely successful, and have brought positive change to other events so that they benefit the local merchants and city. The area economic development has seen five new full-time positions created, four new businesses, building façade renovations and over 450 volunteer hours.
What do you enjoy doing in your leisure time?
We love Auburn football. Saturdays in the fall, we can be found on the Plains. Zack was in the Auburn University Marching Band while at Auburn, and I was a Diamond Doll for the baseball team. My uncle (Billy Erwin) played football at Auburn, and my other uncle (Rodney Rushing) played baseball at Auburn, while the rest of my family all graduated from Auburn. Our kids didn’t have a chance when it came to fandom. Grier was born in November and was at her first game that next year at 9 months. Barrett was born in June and at his first Auburn game that September. They haven’t missed a home game yet. It’s just what we enjoy doing together as a family. It creates memories we won’t ever forget.
What is one of your favorite spots in Shelby County?
Is it possible to like too many to count? One of Shelby County’s hidden gems is the George Washington Museum in Columbiana. Every time I visit I see a new detail, I am in awe of the American History housed there. Heardmont Park on Friday nights in the fall with the band marching out, it’s a feeling that makes your heart smile because you know the hard work the kids and staff have put in, and that’s where it comes to fruition. The National Cemetery in Montevallo, it humbles me and fills me with pride at the same time. My grandfather who served during World War II has his service honor brick there. This is the place where love of country and patriotism realize that “thanks” will never be enough for the sacrifice the men and women of the United States Military make for us. My favorite place growing up was the rest area on top of Double Oak Mountain, where the entrance of Highland Lakes is now. We would pack picnic lunches and bring our kites to the top and look out over North Shelby County and the valleys back to Chelsea. The most romantic place in Shelby County is at King’s Chair in Oak Mountain State Park. I’m pretty sure a historic marker should be placed there – that’s where Zack proposed and we became the greatest duo since peanut butter and jelly.