Mary Helmer brings a wealth of knowledge to Main Street Alabama (MSA), specializing in the areas of community and business development strategies, relationship building, training and leadership development. Prior to her position with MSA, Helmer spent ten years as a local Main Street Director in Emporia, KS. This experience forged a lifelong interest in downtown revitalization and community development. Following her tenure as Emporia's Main Street Director, Helmer moved into the position of Kansas Main Street State Coordinator in 2007 and served in that capacity for 5 years. Prior to accepting her current position with Main Street Alabama in 2013, Helmer developed a leveraged funding package and managed the public relations on a project to convert a former high school into a hotel/convention center in Emporia.
Since moving to Alabama and taking on the relaunch of the statewide coordinating program for Main Street Alabama, Mary has traveled the state extensively providing training and direct services to the Designated Main Street Alabama cities and Downtown Network communities, including incorporating the Downtown Design Guide and the Downtown Development Guide as key resource pieces for all communities interested in redeveloping their downtown and neighborhood commercial districts. Mary has served as a keynote speaker/presenter at several events including Electric Cities Conference, Alabama League of Municipalities, Economic Development Association of Alabama, Alabama Communities of Excellence, Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation, EPA Community Framework Planning, Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham, Eastern Alabama Regional Planning & Development, Pepper Place Charrette as well as several local Main Street and Chambers of Commerce Annual Meetings and service clubs.
- During 2015 Mary worked with representatives from Kansas and the National Main Street Center to re-establish the statewide Main Street Program there, culminating in a grant from USDA to fund the newly formed non-profit with staffed operations.
- Mary is a task force member of the Main Street America Leadership Institute
- Most recently, Mary was honored to be a presenter at the White House Convening on Rural Placemaking
Education & Professional Development
- Emporia State University ~ Bachelor of Science in Psychology
- Total Trainer Institute ~ Creative Training Techniques
- Leadership Kansas Graduate
- National Trust Main Street Center ~ Certified Main Street Manager
- Heartland Economic Development Course
For more information:
Mary M. Helmer
President/State Coordinator of Main Street Alabama
Main Street Alabama was incorporated in 2010 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.