‘Great day for Columbiana:’ City celebrates Main Street Alabama designation

Published 7:03 pm Wednesday, June 29, 2016

In a press release announcing Columbiana’s selection, Helmer noted the city’s “focus on revitalizing the downtown area with a business-friendly city government impressed the selection committee,” and the city’s quantifiable goal to increase downtown retail sales by 10 percent in the next few years made it stand out in the field of applicants.

U.S. Congressman Gary Palmer expressed excitement about the city’s future in light of the program’s kickoff.

“Main Street represents the best of America,” Palmer said. “It’s everything we have in common that we love and cherish and take pride in. I really think this is the key to bringing back the America we remember. This is an exciting day.”

Main Street is a nationally recognized program that uses a four-point approach to revitalize downtown areas: Organization, economic restructuring, design and promotion. The program’s guiding principles include a comprehensive approach, incremental projects, community involvement and a strong public and private partnership.

Columbiana, Montevallo, Wetumpka and Heflin have joined Alexander City, Anniston, Athens, Birmingham, Decatur, Dothan, Elba, Eufaula, Florence, Fort Payne, Gadsden, Monroeville, Jasper, Opelika, Oxford and Selma in using Main Street’s comprehensive and incremental approach.

The cities will report their success by tracking their reinvestment statistics. Main Street Alabama’s Designated communities have reported 239 net new businesses, 2,392 net new jobs, $187,262,002 in private investment, $32,555,955 in public improvements, and 26,652 volunteer hours in their districts collectively since June of 2014.

Helmer said she will return to Columbiana in early August to assemble a resource team.

Shelby County native Bragan Feldman will serve as executive director for Main Street Alabama in Columbiana.

Clem Muck, who portrayed George Washington, led the Pledge of Allegiance and introductions of each speaker at the kickoff.

The event closed with the Community Choir singing, “Lean On Me.”

“Columbiana has a great downtown,” Bentley said. “I just want Columbiana to expand. I’m proud of this city, I’m proud of Columbiana and I’m proud it’s my home.”