LaFayette to host meeting about joining Main Street Alabama

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, September 25, 2019

LaFAYETTE — The LaFayette City Council has given the green light to Chris Busby of the Chambers County Development Authority to host a meeting to discuss being a full member of the Main Street Alabama program.

The city is already a member of the Main Street network through its partnership with the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority, but to be considered a designated community, cities must be approved by Main Street Alabama.

On Monday, Busby approached the city council and told them it would be beneficial for interested parties who want to help redevelop downtown LaFayette to attend a meeting and discuss the city’s goals.

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Because the city is a member of the Main Street Alabama network, it is already eligible to attend training sessions and receive resources to set those goals.

“I wanted to get this program started for a long time, and I think we are at a point where we can do it,” Busby said.

The meeting was set for 5 p.m. on Nov. 12, and Busby said members from Main Street Alabama will be attending to help guide the city through the process.

According to its website, Main Street Alabama believes in a four-point approach to revitalizing downtown throughout the state. Those points are organization, promotion design and economic vitality.

Being a full member of the Main Street Alabama will give the city intimate access to economic development professionals about how to grow its downtown into a success. The city would receive technical assistance, involving market analysis and economic development strategies tailored to LaFayette. Full members also receive more training and workshops about how to take the information from the training and actually implement it into the community.

LaFayette would also have access to educational resources and host special events with the Main Street Alabama namesake.

Busby said being a Main Street Alabama member also gives a city a potential advantage in obtaining grants for community development.
However, the process is not free. After being accepted into the program, there is a tiered fee for new programs throughout its first three years. The first year for new programs is $7,500, the second year is $5,000 and the third year is $3,000. The fourth-year and beyond is a $1,500 cost for cities.

Additionally, LaFayette would have to hire a Main Street director.

Because LaFayette has a population of fewer than 5,000 residents, this position does not have to be full-time. Busby said that position can also be filled by somebody within the city staff.