An intensified focus on people, jobs and dollars will be noticed soon in the heart of Enterprise now that the city has been named a designated Main Street Alabama Community.
Main Street Alabama, an economic development organization with a mission to revitalize Alabama’s downtowns and traditional commercial districts, announced Monday afternoon that Enterprise has earned the designation.
Enterprise Mayor William E. Cooper was pleased by the news that many city leaders, downtown business owners and operators, and other community members had hoped to hear after the rigorous five-month Main Street Alabama application process was completed. The project included research, goal-setting, analysis and a live, scored presentation before judges about why the City of Progress could benefit from the four-point approach that Main Street Alabama calls a “proven model that has produced impressive revitalization results.”
“This long application project was really a team effort between the city and the Downtown Enterprise Business Association, and others who are as committed as we are to developing a successful, organized and complete revitalization program,” said Cooper, who thanked Enterprise Tourism Director Tammy Doerer for her determined and enthusiastic leadership in the application process.
Also contributing to the application process in addition to the City of Enterprise and DEBA were the Wiregrass Economic Development Corp., Enterprise Chamber of Commerce, Century 21 Regency Realty Inc., Southern Broadway and the Wiregrass Board of Realtors.
“I am so thankful and proud of the support we received for this project from our city, downtown leaders and the business and community leaders all over our city,” Doerer said. “This has been a major undertaking and it couldn’t have been done without the contributions of all who were involved.”
Doerer said she is also tremendously hopeful and excited about the future of downtown Enterprise, as well as businesses and entities around the city. “Downtown is the heart of the city, so if the heart is healthy, good economic health will spread to the entire community,” she said.
“We know our historic downtown is doing well, much better than many cities of our size and larger. Improvements and a vision for growth over the past is largely responsible for that, but we also know our city has the potential to become so much more. We believe Main Street Alabama can energize the revitalization effort and help us build a strong economic base that leverages our local assets, such as our historical heritage and our downtown charm, to advance us to the next level of progress and beyond.”
DEBA President Regena Lacey celebrated the news Monday afternoon with a happy Facebook post.
“We are so excited to have been chosen as a Main Street Alabama Designated City,” she wrote. “Many thanks to Tammy Doerer and the city of Enterprise for their support of our application. This is so exciting for the future of the heart of our city.”
Lacey’s predecessor, downtown shop owner Debbie Gaydos, also said she was thrilled by the announcement. As former DEBA president, Gaydos brought Main Street Alabama to the attention of downtown businesses and city council members, leading to Enterprise to join Main Street as a Network Community, and consequently to apply for Designated status.
Gaydos felt Main Street would be a good option, and now she is convinced Main Street has made a good choice in Enterprise. “Great people, great city,” she said.
According to Mary Helmer, State Coordinator for the program, Main Street Alabama will immediately begin providing Enterprise 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.”
An Enterprise delegation appeared before the interview panel May 22. Helmer said the judges were 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 Enterprise had a long-standing merchants association that had functioned as an outstanding promotional arm for downtown Enterprise and a solid understanding of the Main Street Approach that will take their efforts to the next level, which made them stand out in the field of applicants.
A press release issued Monday from Main Street Alabama called Enterprise a “town with a huge heart” that “embraces a lot of small things.” It recapped the story of the Boll Weevil Monument, which has graced downtown for the past 100 years, and mentioned the annual World’s Smallest St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
“We know that celebrating authenticity sets communities apart,” the statement said. “So, we are ready to amplify these efforts and build an ‘unbollweevible’ Main Street Program!”
Enterprise will be joining 25 other Alabama cities as a Main Street Alabama designated community.
Main Street Alabama selected three other communities to award the designation annually. Others selected for the MSA designation were Calera, Headland and Birmingham’s Historic 4th Avenue Business District.