EUFAULA, Ala.─ Main Street Alabama celebrated local program successes at the fifth annual Awards of Excellence on the day that Governor Kay Ivey proclaimed Main Street Alabama Day. The day recognizes the efforts of the organization that is focused on creating jobs and keeping character in communities across the state. During the Awards of Excellence program, Main Street Alabama’s President and State Coordinator, Mary Helmer, honored 50 projects and individuals that made tremendous impacts in their respective communities.  Alabama Municipal Electric Authority sponsored the event that was held at Lake Point State Park.

“It’s an honor to recognize these outstanding community projects, leaders and volunteers,” said Helmer.  “Today’s award winners represent the most innovative downtown revitalization projects in our Main Street Alabama communities.   These projects are truly charting new territory in downtown revitalization in Alabama.  The effort and leadership it takes to move these projects from concept through completion is tremendous and we are thrilled to acknowledge such achievements. We are especially honored to be presenting these awards the day Governor Ivey proclaimed Main Street Alabama Day.”

Locally, Athens and Limestone County received recognition garnering three prestigious Main Street Alabama awards.

The Excellence in Historic Preservation Award was presented to The Judge James Horton Monument Committee.  This award recognizes outstanding local efforts to preserve downtown history and historic resources.

In 1933, Judge Horton set aside a guilty verdict and death sentence by an all-white jury that found Haywood Patterson, a black youth, guilty of raping two white women. Patterson was one of nine black youths, known as the “Scottsboro Boys,” who were falsely accused of the rapes.  Horton’s dedication to justice cost the judge his judicial career. The Limestone County Bar Association decided to erect the statue and the Judge Horton Monument Committee was established to raise the $60,000 needed in private donations. No government funds were used for the project. The Limestone County Historical Society erected the marker explaining the judge’s role in the Scottsboro Boys case.

Accepting the award at Main Street Alabama Awards ceremony was Committee Chair, Retired Judge Jimmy Woodroof, pictured here with Tere Richardson, Athens Main Street Executive Director.

The Excellence in Architectural Design Award was presented to the Limestone County Archives.  This award recognizes outstanding completed design projects including façade renovation, interior renovation and design education efforts.

The Limestone County Archives Building Preservation Project included extensive renovation and preservation work on the former Louisville and Nashville Railroad Athens Passenger Depot, built in 1905, that now serves as the repository for the historic record of Limestone County.

Accepting the award is Archivist, Rebekah Davis, pictured on the right with Athens Main Street Executive Director, Tere Richardson.

The Community Award was presented to the Clements High School Key Club.  This award recognizes individuals, businesses and organizations that have made an outstanding contribution to the local Main Street organization.

The Clements High School Key Club was founded in 2016. The Club Sponsor is a Troy Rogers, a teacher on staff at the school.  It is a student lead organization, committed to giving back to the community. They have logged hundreds of volunteer hours since their inception in 2016. They are truly one of THE go-to groups for recruiting volunteers.  They have volunteered at over 50+ Athens, Huntsville and Rogersville events, including events that support their high school and local elementary school.

L-R: Trisha Black, Field Specialist Main Street Alabama, Tere Richardson, Executive Director, Athens Main Street, Darby Moore, Addison McFarland, Klair Carpenter, Chaela Redd, Liza Carpenter, Emily Tinnon, Abby Craig, Abigail Baker, Jaime Gutierrez, Arielle Gallien, Mary Helmer, State Coordinator Main Street Alabama.

The Awards of Excellence Banquet is a highlight of the aLABama Downtown Laboratory, a three-day conference that bolsters the efforts of communities participating in the nationally acclaimed Main Street program or those communities interested in downtown revitalization. The fourth annual event drew 120 community leaders from cities across the state.

Main Street Alabama has 23 Designated Programs and 36 Downtown Network Communities.

Alexander City, Anniston, Athens, Birmingham, Columbiana, Decatur, Dothan, Elba, Eufaula, Florence, Foley, Fort Payne, Gadsden, Heflin, Jasper, Marion, Monroeville, Montevallo, Opelika, Oxford, Scottsboro, South Huntsville, and Wetumpka each have Designated Programs and new communities will be added annually.

Applications to become a Designated Program will be available in Spring 2019. Until then, communities interested in downtown revitalization can participate in Main Street Alabama’s Downtown Network.

Since 2014, Main Street Alabama Designated Communities have reported 509 net new businesses, 1980 net new jobs, $81,631,591 public dollars invested, $287,168,535 private dollars invested and 65,702 volunteer hours in their districts.

Main Street Alabama focuses on bringing jobs, dollars and people back to Alabama’s historic communities.  Economic development is at the heart of our efforts to revitalize downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.

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