Our 5 Year Strategic Plan

Goals and Actions

Strategic Plan (.pdf file)

A Blueprint for Success (.pdf file)

Main Street Alabama is transforming quality of life in Alabama communities by restoring the vitality of their downtowns. Economic development is at the heart of this effort. Working with affiliated local entities, Main Street Alabama helps bring jobs, dollars and people to support vibrant and sustainable commercial districts that are essential to healthy communities. Main Street Alabama delivers expertise and tools to help create powerful partnerships needed to bring historic downtowns back to life. At the state level, we champion programs, policies and resources that pave the way. Main Street Alabama partners with the State, with EDPA, and with other economic and community development organizations to advance the Accelerate Alabama Plan. In addition to helping achieve the plan’s downtown redevelopment and rural development priorities, Main Street programs contribute directly to the plan’s three core thrusts:
  • Recruitment: Attraction of new business and industry A thriving downtown can be the deciding factor in influencing a new industry or business to select a specific community.
  • Retention: Retention and expansion of existing business and industry Main Street Alabama provides market analysis, training and access to resources that support small business retention, succession and expansion
  • Renewal: Job creation through innovation, entrepreneurship, research and development, and commercialization Main Street fosters startup businesses and entrepreneurial development. In recent years, the historical role of downtowns as a test market for entrepreneurs has grown stronger. Main Street Alabama supports this trend with data, training and resources.
By identifying market opportunities and providing the training to realize them, Main Street Alabama lays the foundation for healthy communities. Main Street follows a nationally tested model to add new jobs, retail and services, along with upper-story housing. Preserving historic buildings while filling them with new uses has proven a potent strategy to create places that draw people of all ages, incomes and cultures to live, work, shop and spend leisure time. Main Street programs are more than great events and pretty downtowns. Main Street is a comprehensive approach to economic development that supports entrepreneurship, enhances the tax base, builds community capacity, and creates partnerships among groups key to revitalization. Across the country, Main Street communities evidence the value of mixed-use, walkable historic downtowns. The economic and social benefits come from long-term commitment to:
  • Strengthening local business marketing tools
  • Nurturing entrepreneurship, new businesses and expansion of existing businesses
  • Effectively promoting local shopping
  • Mobilizing productive collaborations among community groups, leaders and volunteers
  • Drawing tourists

Strategic Plan 2015 – 2019 Goals & Actions

Improve community economic development outcomes
    1. Leverage funding. Facilitate funding source relationships with project owners, financial institutions, government-related grants, foundation support and tax incentives to enable Main Street communities to build local capacity and effectiveness. Utilize local private investment to leverage funding from New Market Tax Credits; State and Federal Historic Rehab Tax Credits; Federal programs such as Appalachian Regional Council, Delta Regional Authority, TVA, USDA and CDBG; and loan funds from the Association of Regional Councils & ADECA.
    2. Overcome barriers to downtown development. Identify and find solutions to impediments for mixed-use development, building codes, zoning, streamlined permit processes, etc., in order to attract developers to downtown projects. Work to strengthen the effectiveness of local Main Street leaders’ relationships with public officials and business leaders to achieve win/win outcomes that will facilitate community and economic development.
    3. Continue to grow the Main Street Program and expand the impact of Main Street tools and expertise. Identify, recruit and support new communities to participate in the Main Street program and spread the benefits of revitalized economies and improved quality of life. Recruit and add a minimum of 3 new designated Main Street communities and a minimum of 5 new Downtown Network communities a year.
    4. Extend Main Street Alabama’s reach and expertise by adding a second field staff position who, along with President Mary Helmer, will spend 50% of time on the road working in communities to produce results.
    5. Conduct board development, goal setting & committee work plan training in existing communities (8) and all new communities (3 per year).

Increase awareness of the value of Main Street Alabama with business and community leaders and public officials across the state
    1. Strengthen private and governmental engagement by working closely with the League of Municipalities, EDPA, EDAA, Association of Regional Councils, Business Council of Alabama, etc. Speak annually at their conferences and engage these organizations in community market assessments and resource visits to identify and grow community capacity. Brief appropriate state government officials on a regular and productive basis.
    2. Increase visibility of the hands-on assistance and impact of Main Street Alabama through news media contacts, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram etc.) and electronic communications. Track audience engagement with google analytics. Gather testimonials from local businesses, entrepreneurs and volunteers. Cultivate direct relationships with media throughout the state.
    3. Report quarterly economic stats from designated Main Street Communities (job creation, new and expanded businesses, private and public reinvestment) via e-letter, web site, and other means. Make available to investors, business and community leaders and public officials across the state, and the general public.
    4. Host an Annual Awards program to tell and celebrate important stories about successful Main Street revitalization throughout the state.
    5. Hold at least one meeting for property owners and municipal officials in each Main Street community to educate them about the benefits of and strategies to provide public/private investment in downtown commercial districts.

Align financial resources with requirements to deliver meaningful results
    1. Identify and cultivate sources of funding and expertise for training and entrepreneurial development. Focus particularly on state government and private support for services that benefit state economic outcomes, and on corporate, agency and individual collaborations that are both productive and cost-effective.
    2. Analyze ways to utilize technology to increase results within the limits of available resources.
    3. Analyze fee structure & potential for other fee-based services to generate additional income.

View 2013-2014 Investor Report (.pdf file)