Main Street programs help create active places designed for people

Posted on Mar 09, 2016


Your downtown or traditional commercial district is the most visible indicator of community pride, along with its economic and social health. It is either an asset or a liability in the effort to recruit new residents, new businesses and industries, retirees, tourists, and others to your community and to keep those you already have. Quality of life is what separates successful cities and towns from declining communities in the new millennium. Your downtown or neighborhood commercial district is the visual representation for your community’s heritage. The architecture of your commercial district is a physical expression of your community’s history.

I can give you 10 reasons why your downtown is important:

  1. Downtown districts are prominent employment centers.

  2. The downtown district is a re ection of community.

  3. Downtown represents a signicant portion of thecommunity’s tax base.

  4. The traditional commercial district is an ideal location for independent businesses.

  5. Downtown is the historic core of the community.

  6. A vital downtown area reduces sprawl by concentrating business in one area and uses community resources wisely, such as existing infrastructure, tax dollars, and land.

  7. A healthy downtown core protects property values in surrounding residential neighborhoods.

  8. The district is a government center where city hall, municipal buildings, the courthouse, and/or post of ce are located. It often is an important service center as well for nding attorneys, insurance of ces, nancial institutions and other important services.

  9. Downtown provides an important civic forum, where members of the community can congregate. Special events and celebrations held downtown reinforce intangible sense of community.

  10. Downtown represents a huge public and private investment.

Across this great nation, the Main Street movement has transformed the way communities think about the revitalizations of their historic downtowns and neighborhood commerical districts, and helped but hisotric preservation back in community revitalization conversation.  Cities and towns across the nation have come to see that a vibrant, sustainable community is only as healthy as its core.  Our Main Streets tell us who we are and who we were, and how the past has shaped us.


The Main Street approach encourages forward-thinking economic development in an historic preservation context so this community asset and legacy can be passed on to future generations.

Alabama and its many communities acknowledge and understand the importance of a sustainable and vibrant downtown. That’s why in 2010, Main Street Alabama was incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit to serve as the state coordinator of the Main Street program in Alabama. Main Street is a national model designed to bring jobs, dollars, and people to small towns and commercial districts. Main Street programs leverage private investment and capitalize on the unique appeal of historic downtowns. The result is one of the most successful economic revitalization strategies in the country. Main Street Alabama is dedicated to nurturing successful revitalization programs across the state.

Main Street Alabama continues to strengthen alliances with community and economic development organizations around the state which share the same common goals.

The Alabama Municipal Electric Authority (AMEA) is proud to be one of those partners. AMEA is dedicated to contributing to the economic growth of Alabama and to making a lasting impact on the communities we serve. We are committed to helping improve the quality of life as well as grow sustainable communities. Economic growth in Alabama is critical to economically stable communities.

Several of our Member cities are a part of the Main Street Alabama network as Designated Communities, Downtown Network Communities, or Emerging Communities, including Alexander City, Dothan, Opelika, Tuskegee and Foley, respectively.

Main Streets are the traditional center for social, cultural, and economic activity for their communities. They are the big stage, the core of the community.

We encourage you to get involved with your Main Street program. We support the Main Street programs in our Member cities and we hope you will, too. Our Main Streets are the places of shared memory where the entire community still comes together to live, work, and play.

Lisa Miller AMEA Manager of Communications and Marketing 

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