Main Street Alabama money to dress up South Parkway

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. --  Business owners in Huntsville are expecting more walk-in traffic with the south end of Memorial Parkway reopened. City leaders hope  some grant money will dress up the corridor over the next few years.

A swift Monday evening commute on Memorial Parkway signals a return to normal.

"We've stuck it out and I think we're ready to grow pretty big," Das Stahl Bierhaus General Manager David Vail said.

Neighbors and business owners like the Bierhaus celebrate the recently completed construction.

"We've got a unique enough business for this part of town that we've stayed afloat throughout this whole thing," Vail said.

Lucky Dice Cafe is one of the Bierhaus's newest neighbors.

"The Parkway has driven people away because of the construction. There were businesses which were up and down this road who are no longer here," Lucky Dice Cafe owner Howard Brock said.

Brock opened up shop with his family last fall as a board game haven.

"A lot of people refer to it as the War Room," Brock said. "You can just grab a game off the shelf. Sit down, play with your kids, play with your date."

While new restaurants and shopping centers take shape on the parkway, business leaders are hoping some Main Street Alabama dollars trickling in can help them fill some vacant store fronts.

"Now that the parkway construction is over, we're asking the question, what's next?" South Huntsville Business Association executive director Bekah Schmidt said.

First, project leaders say they plan to go door-to-door and hear ideas from owners on what they hope to see in the next few years.

"Main Street's not a five-year program, it's meant to be a way to manage the changes in the district over time," Main Street Alabama state coordinator Mary Helmer said.

Neighbors are invited to another public meeting on Tuesday at Grissom High School from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

The SHBA and Main Street Alabama will present their findings on Thursday at Grissom at 4:30 p.m.