Mainstreet visitors tour city, inspect revitalization project

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 25, 2000

Visitors from the Alabama Historical Commission spent part of Tuesday touring the Camellia City, and are giving the area high marks for its efforts to revitalize.

Lee Warren, the executive director for the Alabama Historical Commission and the state historic preservation officer, visited with Greenville Mainstreet Program Director Nancy Idland for the afternoon and got a first-hand look at the downtown revitalization project that has recently been completed.

Warren, who has only been with the commission for eight months, said he was using this opportunity to get to know the state of Alabama and the areas that have been successful in revitalization.

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"We are visiting place that have made great strides in revitalization, and some other areas that might need a little push," Warren said. "I have been impressed with the progress Greenville has made with the challenges it has been faced with over the past few years."

Warren said first hand knowledge of the areas taking advantage of Mainstreet funding helps the commission not only see where the money is going, but also gives them an up-close look at the areas the funds are helping.

"When we see progress and dynamic change like we do here in Greenville, it shows us that not only will Greenville overcome the challenges it faces, but also makes it easier for us to consider more financial support in the future," he said.

As part of the Alabama Historical Commission, Warren said the Mainstreet program has become a necessary part of saving the downtown districts of many small towns throughout the state.

"I think the Mainstreet program has reached an important threshold in the state and we'd like to see it take off," he said. "And, obvious success like you've had in Greenville provides other areas with the motivation to get over the hump and get things done."

Greenville Mainstreet Program Director Nancy Idland said it was exciting to have Warren visit.

"The people of Greenville and the merchants downtown have really come together during the revitalization project and it is something we can all be proud of," she said. "This chance to show off our accomplishments to the historical commission could possibly lead to grants for other projects in the future."

The Mainstreet program is a statewide agency funded through the Alabama Historical Commission dedicated to preserving and restoring the downtown districts in rural Alabama towns.

Greenville's downtown revitalization project was paid for in part by a grant obtained through Greenville Mainstreet.