City leaders in Calera initially became familiar with Main Street by noticing the momentum in Designated Main Street Alabama communities in Shelby County. Columbiana and Montevallo were both using the Four Point Approach and Main Street Alabama services to bolster community efforts and build an authentic place. In March of 2018, Calera began to gather stakeholders together, evaluate their potential and take action.
In November of 2018, Main Street Alabama's President and State Coordinator, Mary Helmer, was first invited to Calera to visit the community and explain the Main Street Four-Point Approach and program. Helmer discussed how focusing on Organization, Designs, Promotion, and Economic Vitality simultaneously with a Transformation Strategy could work for the community.
Encouraged by what they had heard, Mayor Jon G. Graham, City Councilwoman Kay Snowden Turner, City Finance Director, Kelly Ellison and City Clerk, Connie Payton, began to develop a core group of people interested in pursuing the program. Understanding the grassroots nature of the Main Street concept, all citizens were welcome and the committee evolved into a group representing downtown property and business owners, historic preservation committee members that were involved with the designation of the local historic district, as well as individuals interested in improving their downtown.
The team leaders began attending Main Street Alabama onsite training and webinars as well as reaching out to Main Street Alabama staff to have additional presentations in their community. Around 135 people attended these meetings to learn about the program. They also initiated a survey that was spearheaded by the city, local businesses, property owners and citizens. The group worked together to promote the survey which questioned people about their desire to revitalize the historic downtown district. The overwhelming results further determined the group that attended the New City Application Workshop and completed the extensive application for Designation. The application and an on-site presentation was scored by the selection committee in May. The selection committee made its recommendation to the Main Street Alabama Board of Directors and on June 3, Main Street Alabama made the official announcement.
Our Main Streets tell us who we are, who we were and how the past has shaped us.