April 2024

Mary's Minute - A photo of Mary

Follow the Bouncing Ball

We are thrilled to share the success of our recent webinar on Creative Fundraising Events featuring Jackie Swihart, Program Officer for Revitalization Services with Main Street America. The online seminar provided valuable insights into successful fundraising efforts, integrating fundraising into long-term budget goals, and best practices for hosting fundraising events.

The training was well-received and highly informative, catering to the interests of all our communities.

Main Street America has unveiled a comprehensive new evaluation framework aimed at defining the characteristics of a highly successful Main Street Program. This framework, consisting of Six Standards includes broad-based community commitment to revitalization, inclusive leadership and organizational capacity, diversified funding and sustainable program operations, strategy-driven programming, preservation-based economic development, and demonstrated impact and results, is set to guide the growth of existing programs and the development of newer ones. 

While it has been an interesting juggling of schedules to get all this done by the deadline with the Main Street Now Conference planning in full force, it has also been extremely rewarding, as I have had the opportunity to visit with each of our communities individually about their goals and plans for their futures.

MSNOW24: “Join commercial district revitalization leaders from across the country for three days of insightful education sessions, unique special events, immersive mobile workshops, and memorable experiences in Birmingham, the Magic City. Whether you come from a downtown in a small town or in a city-based commercial corridor, the Main Street Now Conference offers time-tested approaches, new techniques, and opportunities to exchange ideas designed to help your team address pressing issues impacting your community.”

For More Information Or To Register

We are so excited to host this amazing conference and to highlight Birmingham and several surrounding designated Main Street cities. Alabama has something for everyone – great outdoors from beaches to forests to rivers and lakes, music legends, civil rights legacy, rockets, great college sports, amazing food, and Southern Hospitality at its best! Come early and stay late. We cannot wait to see you!

Plan Your Trip

Mary Helmer Wirth

President/State Coordinator

Main Street Alabama Day on the Hill

On March 6th, the corridors of the state legislature echoed with purpose as local Main Street Directors, Main Street Alabama Board members, staff, and community advocates gathered for a visit to Montgomery. The mission was to foster dialogue, build bridges, and champion the interests of Main Street Alabama communities across the state.

The day started with a shared breakfast, where legislators visited with local Main Street directors.

It was a chance for casual conversation and relationship-building between community advocates and policymakers. After breakfast concluded, Main Streeters headed to the State House floor where they heard from lawmakers about the success and challenges of this session.

Mary Helmer Wirth, President and State Coordinator, Main Street Alabama, thanked the speakers and recognized each with the Main Street Champion award. Among the honorees were Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth, Senator Greg Reed, and Representative Greg Albritton. Their steadfast dedication to advocating for policies that empower local economies and preserve our cultural heritage exemplifies the spirit of public service at its finest. In addition to these luminaries, Senator Clyde Chambliss and House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels were also honored for their tireless advocacy on behalf of Main Street initiatives.

As the day progressed, Main Street Directors embarked on individual meetings with their respective legislators, amplifying the voices of local volunteers and emphasizing the transformative impact of their collective endeavors. These discussions served as vital channels for sharing insights, successes, and challenges faced in each district, fostering a deeper understanding of the ongoing revitalization efforts. 

“Main Street Alabama is grateful for the support of our legislators; we are committed to being good stewards of the resources they provide us. For every dollar of funding the State has contributed, $13.36 is returned in sales taxes according to our ten-year impact study published in November 2023. Counting public and private investments in our communities, Main Street Alabama has had a Billion-dollar economic impact on the State of Alabama,” said Wirth.

Main Street Project Grants Awarded to Calera and Wetumpka

In December 2023, the first two recipients of the Main Street Alabama Project Grants were announced: Calera Main Street and Main Street Wetumpka. These grants, offering up to $25,000 each, aim to support designated communities in executing projects within their districts to stimulate positive economic growth.

Haley Greene, Main Street Wetumpka receiving the first installment for the Fall Line Overlook from Mary Helmer Wirth.

Jackie Batson, Calera Main Street, receives a check from Mary Helmer Wirth for new pavers in the Calera Courtyard.

Learn More About Project Grants Awarded to Calera and Wetumpka

Community Updates

Birmingham's Historic 4th Avenue Business District

Under the impactful branding initiatives of 4th Avenue Forward, the Historic 4th Avenue Business District orchestrated a series of noteworthy events during the quarter from November through January.

A standout occasion within this timeline was the 8th Annual MLK Day 5K Drum Run, held on January 13th. This event was not merely a celebration of physical fitness but also a testament to community engagement, paying sincere homage to the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. The integration of a drumline infused a unique and vibrant element, crafting a lasting and memorable experience for more than 800 participants and spectators alike.

Over the years, this initiative has achieved significant milestones:

*Awarded $18K in scholarships to graduating high school seniors.

*Donated $9K in assistance to metro Birmingham school music programs.

*Contributed $5K to local nonprofit, community, and social organizations registered as team beneficiaries for the MLK Day 5K Drum Run - Birmingham. Continuing the momentum, the second event scheduled on January 15th was the MLK Service Day. This initiative saw approximately 90 participants actively engaging in a district-wide cleanup.

Partnerships formed a crucial aspect of this community-driven endeavor, with contributors including UAB students, the Alabama Power Foundation, members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., and some of our leading youth, the Omega's LampLighters. Their collective efforts made a significant impact, fostering a sense of shared responsibility and community pride.

These events not only showcase the success of 4th Avenue Forward's branding strategy in drawing community participation but also underscore the district's commitment to cultural celebration, physical well-being, and community service. They stand as vivid examples of how strategic branding can assist in transforming a historic district into a vibrant hub of cultural and community activities.

Be sure to check out what's happening in other communities, by clicking below.

Learn More About What's New In Our Communities

Welcome New Board Members

Main Street Alabama welcomed new Board members at the February 21 meeting in Heflin. Joining the Board is:

  • Natalie Arendall, Program Manager, Daniel Foundation
  • Alex Jones, Senior Managing Director and President of UB Community Development and Senior Vice President with United Bank
  • Michelle Jordan, Executive Director, Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments (TARCOG)
  • Bakari Miller, Vice President of Business Development, EDPA
  • Cristy Moody, Executive Vice President, Walker Area Community Foundation
  • Ashley Russell, TCF & Corporate Giving Specialist, Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Justin Stabler, Poarch Creek Indians Tribal Council
  • Cornell Wesley, Director Office of Innovation & Economic Opportunity, City of Birmingham
  • Heather Wright, Regional Manager Alabama SBDC Network

Returning for a second term is Alex Flachsbart, Founder and CEO, Opportunity Alabama, and Charles Goodrich, Timberline Management

Main Street Now Volunteers Needed

The Main Street Now Conference is a one-of-a-kind event, providing attendees with an opportunity to convene and learn about the innovative methods and practices that make the Main Street Approach® one of the most powerful economic development tools in the nation. Sign up to volunteer, and help Main Street Alabama make this the best Main Street America conference introducing the country to true southern hospitality.

Volunteer Opportunities

Investor Spotlight

Main Street Alabama is honored to count The Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation as an investor. The foundation’s dedication to enhancing education, healthcare, environmental sustainability, and cultural vibrancy aligns seamlessly with our objectives, making them a powerful ally in fostering community development and resilience. Their generous investment fuels our capacity to drive transformative initiatives that breathe life into local economies, enrich societal welfare, and cultivate thriving, sustainable neighborhoods. With the vital support of The Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation, Main Street Alabama is empowered to bring in an era of innovation, progress, and flourishing community spirit across the state.

Read More About The Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation

Simply Southern TV Features Athens Main Street

Simply Southern TV's film crew visited North Alabama in January to learn more about downtown Athens and current Athens Main Street initiatives, including revitalizing the Farmers Market lot and pavilion. During the visit, Simply Southern TV met with business owners, including Derrick Young, U.G. White Mercantile, David Bennett, Bennett's Clothing, and part owner and lead chef Kristen Caroselli, Salty Cod. Additionally, they had the opportunity to meet with Michelle Williamson, an Athens Main Street Board member, and Kat Green, the Athens Farmers Market manager. Hear what they all had to say about the Main Street program and the changes happening in the district.

Simply Southern TV Athens Main Street Feature On YouTube

Simply Southern TV has also featured other communities in previous broadcasts. Click below to watch those episodes.


Simply Southern TV is a statewide network television show dedicated to agriculture and rural living. The network is a collaboration between the Alabama Farmers Cooperative and the Alabama Farmers Federation.

Support Main Street Alabama

Main Street Alabama cannot provide the services we do across the state of Alabama without donors. As we continue to expand Main Street's footprint, the need for donations also grows.

Please consider donating to Main Street Alabama today through our PayPal link.

Thank you for supporting Main Street Alabama.

Contribute Now