Leeds among four new Main Street Alabama cities

The city of Leeds is one of four new cities on Main Street Alabama.

The city, which is in the counties of Jefferson, Shelby and St. Clair in the Birmingham metropolitan area, received the designation today, along with Demopolis in Marengo County, Talladega in Talladega County and LaFayette in the Chambers County.

Main Street Alabama is a nonprofit organization using public-private partnerships to boost downtown areas. The organization will begin working with cities for economic promotion and development, with strategies unique to each community. The designation is the result of months of work by Candidate Cities, involving candidates making in-person presentations before a committee.

“The app itself is intended to allow a community to take a close look at vacancies, absentee owners, historic properties, and the current economy in the downtown or neighborhood business district,” Mary Helmer Wirth, president and state coordinator of Main Street Alabama, said.

Leeds, with a population of over 12,000, is looking to improve its city center with a facelift of historic buildings, to develop a brand image and to improve pedestrian circulation.

Demopolis, home to about 6,700 residents, wants to capitalize on outdoor recreation at the meeting point of the Tombigbee and Black Warrior rivers. Marketing, increasing shopping and dining options, and renovating its historic Marengo Theater are priorities.

Talladega seeks to develop an “economically healthy walking community where diverse people of all ages, including students, children, the elderly, and the deaf-blind” can come together.

LaFayette plans to improve the appearance of its historic buildings and streetscapes, diversify its retail offering, increase activity in the downtown district after hours, and galvanize the participation of the community to the overall improvement of the city.

Other Main Street Alabama communities are Alexander City, Anniston, Athens, Atmore, Birmingham’s 4th Avenue Business District, Calera, Columbiana, Decatur, Dothan, Elba, Enterprise, Eufaula, Florence, Foley, Fort Payne, Gadsden, Headland, Heflin, Marion, Monroeville, Montevallo, Jasper, Opelika, Oxford, Scottsboro, South Huntsville, Wetumpka and the Woodlawn area of ​​Birmingham.

Designated Main Street Alabama communities reported 909 net new businesses, 2,984 net new jobs created, $688 million in private investment, $96 million in public improvements, and 139,177 volunteer hours in their districts since June 2014.

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