The Spirit of Athens (SOA) began in 2006 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the revitalization and future growth of downtown Athens. It was modeled after the Main Street approach, given Alabama did not have, at the time, an active Main Street State program to join. For the next, several years SOA worked to promote and revitalize downtown Athens. In 2010, Alabama reinstated the State Main Street program and grandfathered SOA into the Main Street Alabama program in 2013 as Spirit of Athens Alabama Inc dba Athens Main Street (AMS).
Throughout the past 13 years, AMS has made significant contributions to downtown Athens, including the establishment of a Certified Farmers Market that operates each Saturday, June through August. AMS created the Athens Art League and the established High Cotton Arts, a downtown artist incubator, as well as, incorporating a number of promotional events that have become highly anticipated and attended year after year bringing new visitors to downtown. AMS performed a key role in the recently completed Streetscape project that improved walkability, provided more green space with grass and shade trees, improved lighting with the installation of historic lamp posts, and improvements to sidewalks to become ADA compliant.
The mission of Athens Main Street is to enhance downtown vibrancy, preserve its historic charm, empower its community of business owners, and foster a center of activity for the community.