ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) Athens is one of a handful of communities statewide that are prepared to get on Main Street. Wednesday Athens hosted a meeting at Athens State University that can help other communities in Alabama do the same.
Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks says, “The city of Athens is one of 13 cities participating in the Main Street program. In north Alabama, only Athens and Florence are looking to be certified as a Main Street city.”
The goal of the program is to bring jobs, dollars, and people to small towns and commercial districts.
The state of Alabama restarted its Main Street Alabama program last year. To accomplish that, the Alabama Historical Commission sought help from the National Trust Main Street Center.
Mary Helmer is the state coordinator for Main Street Alabama. Helmer says, “My message here today is economic development is about small businesses. It’s about one job, one small business at a time. And how to work with entrepreneurs and how to keep the core of your community strong and what it means to your entire community.”
According to Mayor Marks, “We`ve been devastated with tornadoes and lots of other things. But this community has come together and rebuilt itself and renewed its energy level. And in my opinion, this is what Main Street does.”
Now that the state has restarted the program, Athens can become certified. City leaders expect that to happen within the year.