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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Some of the main players making downtown Huntsville such a success received some recognition Friday morning.

Charlotte Center City Partners President Michael Smith was the keynote speaker for the Downtown Huntsville, Inc. Awards and spoke on the importance of downtowns in cities.

“It’s the intersection of every neighborhood in your city, and it creates an incredible, unmatched magnet for tomorrow’s talent,” he explained.

Winners of the annual awards reflect the direction our city is heading. Event of the Year was won by the Hunt+Gather Artisan and Makers market.

“You won’t see any mass-produced products there,” stated market creator Abby Owen. “Everything is handmade or invented in North Alabama and is one of a kind and is unique to all of the cool people in our area.”

Project of the Year was won by the incoming AC Hotel, and Downtown Advocate was awarded to Mark Russell.

Things happening downtown in 2019 include new mixed use and hotel properties, music venues, parking, and residential, retail, and office space.

“The magic of downtowns, we think it’s the buildings, and the venues,” Smith added. “It’s not the hotels, it’s the guests; it’s not the apartment complexes, it’s the residents; it’s not the offices, it’s the talent.”

These are all key factors in keeping Huntsville the fastest growing city in Alabama.

One piece of advice Smith offered is to consider setting aside a portion of the property tax paid in a particular district and use it to improve the district. This would encourage even faster growth.