In Alabama, our downtowns are the heart of our communities. They are the core of our architectural and cultural heritage; they are the places where people gather to celebrate, they are the place where communities big and small are reinventing the way Alabama does business.
The buildings that make up our downtowns tell rich stories of the past and together they stand sentinel to the collective history of our state. Whether it is a bank built by visionary leaders, a hotel that hosted famous guests, a store that sold Sunday clothes, or a restaurant that served locals and visitors – these buildings have come together to create the “place” we all call home. Our downtowns evoke nostalgia for the past, a yearning for old connections and, sometimes, a history that bears telling, no matter how complex.
Today, Alabamians are looking at our downtowns not simply as places for memories but also as places for bold economic opportunity. New restaurants are coming to small towns, long time businesses are discovering new ways to thrive, and creative downtown events are breathing new life into once empty streets. Our communities are rediscovering that the uniqueness of our historic downtowns offer a new frontier for innovation, creativity, collaboration and economic prosperity.
Our state recognizes the importance of our downtowns in preserving history, celebrating diversity, and providing economic opportunity. To that end, we created Main Street Alabama in 2010. Main Street Alabama is a truly unique model, based on time tested techniques, unified by partners across the state with the mission to rebuild Alabama’s traditional commercial districts. Main Street Alabama knows that flowing throughout this great state’s downtowns is a strong economic opportunity that couples with the warmth, charm and bold dreams of Alabamians across the state.
In a few short years, Main Street Alabama has expanded to include small towns, cities, and commercial districts across the state into a network of volunteers, professionals, and partners with simple goals: to provide training, networking, and educational opportunities to galvanize community leaders, merchants, and citizens with tools necessary to help turn their downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts into powerful economic development engines.
Main Street Alabama’s approach inspires people young and old not only to give back to their community but also to come back to their hometowns: to live, to become entrepreneurs, to breathe new life into our downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts, and most importantly to remember what is old can be new and thriving again. Main Street Alabama isn’t just about Building Better Downtowns – it is about making your hometown the best it can be. We invite you to be a part of this movement, we encourage you to celebrate the successes in your hometown, we look forward together to ongoing success in making our state better through the vitality of our downtowns.
Athens Main Street is a Main Street Alabama Designated Community