Athens Main Street’s Merchants Alley was named Alabama Association of RC&D (AARC&D) Councils’ State Project of the Year.

The award was given at the 2022 National Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils’ Conference. Previously in November, Merchants Alley was named Project of the Year by Alabama’s Mountains, Lakes & Valleys RC&D Council which is the northeast chapter of the AARC&D.

Tere Richardson Athens Main Street Executive Director and Brad Mallette Athens Main Street Board Member & Design Chair of Athens Main Street receive the award at the state conference in Gulf Shores.

The newly renovated Merchants Alley was opened to the public in October 2021. With its theme of a celebration of music through art, there are vibrant murals, Instagram spots, newly planted trees and plants, and seating for gathering spaces. The alley also provides an outdoor venue for the enjoyment of local musicians. Every Friday night, April through July and September through November, local musicians play for the community.

“Receiving this award from AARC&D, whose mission of improving outdoor spaces for all to enjoy, was such an honor and validation of our efforts.” Athens Main Street Executive Director Tere Richardson said.


The Alabama Association of RC&D Council (AARC&D) is comprised of 9 councils that serve communities throughout the state.  A volunteer non-profit that addresses local needs from a regional and statewide perspective, AARC&D focuses on Natural and Human resources to make Alabama a better place to live, work and play.

Athens Main Street is a non-profit volunteer organization. Its mission is to enhance downtown vibrancy, preserve its historic charm, empower its community of business owners, and foster a center of activity for the community.


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