A small group from Vision LaFayette went to Birmingham last Wednesday to do a presentation before the Mainstreet Selection Committee. It was the second step necessary to obtain a Mainstreet designation.
Mainstreet is a popular downtown revitalization program which will be choosing 3 new communities to begin work on. Main Street Alabama is a non-profit using public-private partnerships to stimulate downtown areas.
Three communities will be selected after a five-month application process, which had to show a level of engagement to support the program. Main Street programs work in four areas: organization, design, promotion and economic vitality, with strategies for market-based outcomes, say its organizers. The program works to cultivate a board, offer training and answer questions.
When a district is ready for Main Street, an economic development program team goes to work. President and State Coordinator Mary Helmer said. “It brings jobs, dollars and people back to historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.”
The Vision LaFayette group has met for months with open discussion on how to answer the application questions and designing what they felt would be a compelling presentation to present in front of the Mainstreet committee.
The presentation prepared by Vison LaFayette included a 12-minute video that showcased our towns rich history and beauty. Many citizens stepped up to give personal testament as to why they felt Mainstreet coming to LaFayette would be beneficial to the town. Short interviews were shown from school aged children, business owners, residents and even Frances Smith who is 101 years old.
Displayed behind the group doing the skit were large cardboard cutouts of serval of LaFayette’s landmarks and buildings; including the Courthouse, the Joe Lewis statue, Gimme Some Sugar, our new fire truck just to name a few.
The presentation then turned into a skit where former Mayor Butch Busby, Fire Chief Jim Doody, City Manager Louis Davidson, School Councilor Emily Milford, Owner of Harmon Insurance Dori Harmon, Owner of Vines Funeral Home Marylin Vines and F and M Bank President Stanley Tucker pretended to be at our local coffee shop Gimme Some Sugar having a candid conversation about the chances of Mainstreet coming to LaFayette and how it would benefit our town.
Jennifer Graves owner of Gimme Some Sugar was there and greeted the skit crew and prepared coffee for the skit crew and the panel of judges. The skit lasted nearly 30 minutes. The main topics the skit touched on was how to bring more businesses to LaFayette, how to grow our population, creating more green space, creating more revenue for the city, giving facelifts to our historical buildings and creating night life.
Butch Busby wrapped up the skit’s conversation by saying, “Our town is like a recipe. We have all of these amazing ingredients. All we need is the perfect recipe to create a spectacular outcome.” After the skit the panel of judges asked questions for approximately 15 minutes.
Mainstreet advised the Vision LaFayette group that this was a busy year for them and that they had received a large number of applications. The Vision LaFayette group is hoping to receive news of their application by end of day Wednesday June 1.