RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – – – Pumping life back into Downtown Russellville. That’s the goal one nonprofit in the city is working towards.
The Downtown Russellville Collective says its goal is to restore and revitalize the city’s downtown area.
Russellville Florist & Gifts sits on the corner of Jackson Avenue and Lawrence Street downtown. The owner says he moved his business from Highway 43 right before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I wanted to invest because I was part of this redevelopment of downtown, so I wanted to invest and put money in where I was passionate about,” said Russellville Florist & Gifts Owner Chase Sparks.
Sparks tells News 19 the building hadn’t been touched since the 60s-70s, and that there was a lot of work that had to be done.
“We’ve grown the gift shop, we’ve grown the florist, and it’s just a great fit for this town,” added Sparks.
The Downtown Russellville Collective has already received some guidance from Main Street Alabama – a nonprofit focused on bringing jobs and dollars back to Alabama’s historic communities.
“Last year, a group of downtown businesspeople got together and presented in front of Main Street Alabama. Because of that, we became the first pilot program for the Aspiring tier…which is a new tier they created to begin to get us ready for a full Main Street designation,” said Downtown Russellville Collective Executive Director Ann Epperson McDermitt.
Since becoming a part of the Main Street Alabama community, Epperson McDermitt says the downtown area has seen improvements.
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She hopes they’ll be able to build off that with help from Main Street in order to preserve some of its historic buildings while bringing in new activities and businesses.
“We’re beginning to move to get ready for an application in the beginning of May. Hopefully, we’ll then be able to present to Main Street Alabama again this year at the end of May. When we do that, the hope is that we’ll be a fully designated Main Street program. That qualifies us for so many opportunities that we don’t have now, and we need that.,” added Epperson McDermitt.
“We’ve got people that are passionate about this area, passionate about the historic part of Russellville. We’ve got events going on at the Roxy Theater. We need people to get involved with that – to attend things down here, to eat downtown, and shop downtown,” said Sparks.
The Downtown Russellville Collective is encouraging community members to keep up with them on social media.
Upcoming event happening in Downtown Russellville: