Four new cities added to Main Street Alabama revitalization program

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Mainstreet Alabama, a nonprofit organization that focuses on growing commerce in city districts, has selected four more cities to join its efforts at revitalizing Alabama’s downtowns.

After a five-month competitive application process, the group has named four cities it will add to its 16-city roster.

Columbiana, Heflin, Montevallo and Wetumpka will all get attention from the nonprofit, which will try to work with other local groups and city agencies to create jobs and grow businesses while retaining local character of the districts they work in.

Mainstreet Alabama says it focuses its work on “public-private partnerships, broad community engagement, and strategies that create jobs, spark new investment, attract visitors, and spur growth,” looking to build upon “the authentic history, culture, and attributes of specific places, to bring sustainable change.”

The groups toolkit includes local board development, expert market analysis, regular training sessions, and technical assistance.

“When a community is ready for Main Street, as these four are, our economic development program works,” said State Coordinator Mary Helmer. “It brings jobs, dollars and people back to historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.”

The group claims on its website that its effort has yielded some 239 new businesses and 2,392 additional jobs, and spurred nearly $220 million in private and public investment.

The list of cities the group is already working with are as follows: Alexander City, Anniston, Athens, Birmingham, Decatur, Dothan, Elba, Eufaula, Florence, Fort Payne, Gadsden, Monroeville, Jasper, Opelika, Oxford and Selma.

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