Survey to reveal community’s vision for Columbiana Main Street

By JENNIFER MAIER / Community Columnist

You never know until you ask, so Columbiana Main Street recently conducted a survey to see what the community and local business owners would like to see for the future of their historic downtown district.

Since becoming a designated Main Street Alabama community on June 20, 2016, Columbiana Main Street Executive Director Bragan Feldman has been putting together a plan that will not only attract new businesses to the downtown area, but also help already existing businesses.

With assistance from Main Street Alabama, two surveys were created. One focused on opinions from the Columbiana community, and the other survey focused on opinions of business and building owners.

“Part of the Main Street Alabama program provided to us is a market study,” Feldman said.  “The complete study will give us a clear picture of how to help our existing businesses thrive, and also to see what type of new businesses we should be pursuing that can be sustained.”

Feldman said that over 300 people responded to the survey. Main Street Alabama has been conducting these surveys for years, all in an effort to provide communities with the information they need to make positive changes based on the needs and desires of the community and local business owners.

“Main Street has been helping historic downtowns analyze and become ‘economic developers’ for a long time now and they have provided us with a survey that is proven at achieving our outcome,” Feldman explained.

On June 27, the survey results will be revealed at a public meeting, which will take place at 6 p.m. at the Columbiana Senior Center.

Only a few cities are chosen each year to be part of the Main Street Alabama program.  Columbiana was chosen along with Montevallo, Wetumpka and Heflin.

Each community is unique, and Main Street Alabama works closely with each community to enhance their historic downtowns while retaining the city’s unique charm.

There are four areas that are focused on as part of the revitalization effort:  Organization, Promotion, Design, and Economic Vitality.  Growth is incremental and focuses on making positive and sustainable changes.

Before big change can be made, smaller changes have to happen.  That is why the collection of information through the surveys is so important to the process.

“We will start looking at recruiting new businesses into downtown, and take a look at existing businesses to see what they can improve on to widen their market,” Feldman said.

To learn more about Columbiana Main Street, you can visit their website at ColumbianaMainStreet.com.