Calera selected as a Main Street Alabama city

Published 4:32 pm Tuesday, June 4, 2019

CALERA – Calera has been selected to join Main Street Alabama, a statewide effort to build stronger communities through effective downtown and neighborhood commercial district revitalization.

Main Street Alabama, a non-profit organization that uses a national model with a 40-year track record of success, designated Calera after a rigorous application process. According to Mary Helmer, state coordinator for the program, Main Street Alabama will immediately begin providing each selected town with intensive board development, goal setting, work planning, market study with implementable economic development strategies, targeted technical assistance and quarterly training related to downtown development.

“When a community is ready for Main Street, the time tested Four Point Approach works,” Helmer said. “It brings jobs, dollars and people back to neighborhood commercial districts.”

Helmer added that the interview panel was impressed by the presentation made by the application team that demonstrated a love of their community, a vision for what they could be, and the drive to make it happen. She noted that Calera had established a strong partnership with their city, had demonstrated both need and capacity and had an understanding of the Main Street Approach, which made them stand out in the field of applicants.

“Originally known as Buxahatchie, this community was founded by Irish immigrant, John Gamble. In 1848 the Alabama Tennessee River Railroad began laying tracks and the area became a center for lime production. Over the next few years, the community changed its name several times and was known as Limeville, Lime Kilns, Lime City and Lime Station,” read a Facebook post announcing the city as a Main Street Alabama participant. “Today, this community is still a major producer of lime, which is shipped all over the southeast. This city is the location of the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum where popular annual events introduce children of all ages to the rail experience. The railroad remains a significant part of community development that is reflected today by “The Little Engine That Could” attitude portrayed by current community leaders. To the citizens of Calera, we say, ‘All aboard!’”

Calera and three other communities join Alexander City, Anniston, Athens, Birmingham, Columbiana, Decatur, Dothan, Elba, Eufaula, Florence, Foley, Fort Payne, Gadsden, Heflin, Marion, Monroeville, Montevallo, Jasper, Opelika, Oxford, Scottsboro, South Huntsville and Wetumpka in using Main Street’s comprehensive and incremental approach.

Each designated community listed above reports their success by tracking their reinvestment statistics. Main Street Alabama’s designated communities have reported 379 net new businesses, 2,364 net new jobs, $303 million in private investment, $83 million in public improvements and 78,992 volunteer hours in their districts collectively since June 2014.

Main Street Alabama will continue to add new communities annually. Application workshops to become a designated community will be held again in January 2020. Until then, communities interested in downtown and neighborhood commercial district revitalization can participate in Main Street Alabama’s network. For more information, go to