Main Street Alabama opportunity for Greenville
Published 12:26 pm Tuesday, December 12, 2023
An open meeting and presentation from Main Street Alabama was held downtown for interested community members Dec. 4. The presentation was pulled together by James Little, a soon-to-be Greenville resident who has family roots in Butler County, and currently owns and runs Filter Coffee Parlor in Birmingham.
Tanya Maloney, field service specialist with Main Street Alabama, gave the informative presentation and spoke about the organization’s Four-Point Approach to downtown revitalization.
“The Four-Point Approach includes economic vitality, organization, promotion and design,” Maloney said. “Cultivate a strong entrepreneurship ecosystem, ensure broad community engagement, communicate the district’s unique features through storytelling, and foster accessible people-centered public spaces.”
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Upon having conversations with certain business owners downtown, Little said he heard the same visions and desires for downtown’s growth from multiple residents. Having a background in initiating community involvement, Little said he was inspired to create an opportunity for locals to come together and learn about the Main Street Alabama program.
According to Main Street Alabama’s website, the organization is a nonprofit that stresses public-private partnerships, broad community engagement, and strategies that create jobs, spark new investment, attract visitors, and spur growth. Main Street builds on the authentic history, culture, and attributes of specific places to bring sustainable change and follows a 40-year-old model for community revitalization that has seen great success nationwide.
Tracy Salter, director of the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce, attended the meeting and said she had the opportunity to learn more about the Main Street program, its organization, and the criteria and requirements associated with the organization.
“Each and every business in our city and county is important and is unique to residents and visitors alike,” Salter said. “The City of Greenville and the Chamber of Commerce have many projects planned for the upcoming year with several of them being targeted to the downtown district. We look forward to continuing our combined efforts to make Greenville the very best place to live, work, and play.”
To be a Main Street Alabama official “designated community”, there is an application process, community requirements and yearly dues. The first steps for a community to be eligible in the program is the creation of an organization or committee responsible for the downtown’s Main Street Program and have the ability to fund a full time Main Street Manager.
According to Main Street Alabama, a Designated Community within its organization is an economic development tool that enhances the tax base of a community, fosters entrepreneurship, builds community capacity, and creates partnerships among key groups in a community. There are currently 32 Designated Communities within Alabama, and 32 Network Communities, which are in the process of becoming a Main Street Designated Community.
Little’s wife Jill Marlar, who has family roots in Crenshaw County, said they believe in the possibilities of Greenville, and that the town has captured their hearts.
“It’s done that by being around the people of this town, like you all,” Marlar said. “Our daughter Ruby began looking at homes for sale online in Greenville, and now we are looking at properties and have our house on the market. What we see in this community is a miniature version of what we love about Birmingham. We want to be a part of a thriving environment, and we see the heart of the community already in this town.”
New applications for Main Street Alabama will open in January 2025.