FOLEY — New murals, bike racks, park enhancements and other projects to foster community relationships downtown have brought national recognition to an agency that works to preserve the city's …
FOLEY — New murals, bike racks, park enhancements and other projects to foster community relationships downtown have brought national recognition to an agency that works to preserve the city's heritage while driving economic development.
Foley Main Street has been recognized as an Accredited Main Street America program, an honor bestowed to honor cities' commitment to revitalizing communities through the Main Street Approach.
“We are very proud to acknowledge this year’s 862 Accredited Main Street America programs and their steadfast dedication to nurture economically and culturally vibrant downtown districts,” said Hannah White, interim president and CEO of Main Street America, in a news release. Foley Main Street's performance is regularly evaluated by Main Street Alabama, in partnership with Main Street America, to ensure the groups meets national performance standards. Accreditation status is granted to communities that fulfill rigorous criteria. Some of these criteria include commitments to grassroots revitalization programs, fostering strong public-private partnerships, promoting economic opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs and actively preserving historic places, spaces, and cultural assets.
To help shape downtown growth and development, Foley Main Street participates in the recent implementation of the city's Envision Plan. Additionally, their acceptance into the Community Growth Accelerator program has defined the economic impact of key downtown properties.
Acting as a facilitator and mediator between downtown businesses and the city, Foley Main Street fosters effective communication, addresses concerns and cultivates a collaborative environment. The group regularly visits downtown businesses, building strong relationships, understanding their needs and providing tailored support to drive their success.
Another initiative by Foley Main Street that helped the group to earn this recognition is the creation of Cat Alley, a visual space that serves as a gathering place for residents and visitors, fostering a sense of community.Foley Main Street has secured grants and sponsorships totaling $81,500 to vital financial resources for implementing projects and initiatives that enhance downtown Foley. Enhancements such as murals, bike racks and the AARP Outdoor Musical Instruments project in Pine Street Park were made possible with a portion of these grants.
“I am proud to be on the Board of Directors of this organization,” Foley Main Street President Chad Watkins said in a news release. “There are very few organizations or institutions that go through rigorous accreditation annually. It is because of this high standard of excellence our organization has been so successful.”
According to the release, Main Street America programs collectively generated $6.2 billion in local reinvestment, supported the establishment of 7,657 net new businesses, created 29,174 net new jobs and played a role in rehabilitating 10,688 historic buildings in 2022.
The programs also worked a total of 1,528,535 volunteer hours. On average, every dollar invested in a Main Street program for its operations resulted in $24.07 of new investment in the downtown communities.
Collectively, 2 million people live or work within designated Main Street America districts. A workforce of approximately 1.1 million people contributed their skills and expertise to advance the missions of these historic downtowns and commercial corridors.