Local coalition joins Opportunity Alabama’s Community Growth Accelerator with focus on strengthening downtown LaFayette

Published 8:30 am Friday, December 8, 2023

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In October, Opportunity Alabama (OPAL) and Main Street Alabama (MSA) visited downtown LaFayette to kick off LaFayette’s participation in the Community Growth Accelerator (CGA). CGA is a program led by OPAL and supported by MSA to help a coalition of community leaders identify and then implement creative ways to improve quality of place and local economic vitality.

The Chambers County Development Authority (CCDA), LaFayette Main Street, and the City of LaFayette worked together to submit the successful application to participate in CGA.

“We are thrilled that LaFayette will have the opportunity to participate in the Community Growth Accelerator program,” said CCDA Executive Director Chris Busby. “The CCDA has long had a fruitful partnership with Opportunity Alabama and know their programs consistently produce positive impacts in the communities they reach. This is yet another great instance of our communities thinking outside the box and capitalizing on opportunities to make our area a better place to live and work.”

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LaFayette’s CGA participation will focus on developing actionable strategies to strengthen the downtown historic district.

During the site visit, representatives from OPAL and MSA met individuals from the City, CCDA, and LaFayette Main Street; visited local businesses; and toured properties that could be candidates for revitalization.

Downtown LaFayette is beautiful, and we see great potential for long-term growth here. The goal for us,” said Chris Frye, Community Development Director for OPAL, “is to learn what LaFayette wants to see happen in this district and then figure out how we and Main Street can work with local entities to help to make those things happen.”

In June 2022, the City of LaFayette announced that it had been selected by Main Street Alabama as a new Designated Main Street community. This acceptance to the CGA program signals growing momentum and collaboration around downtown revitalization for LaFayette.

LaFayette Main Street Director, DeAnna Hand stated, “Over the last year we have seen a huge pick up of momentum. Downtown LaFayette feels alive again! Our community genuinely loves LaFayette and is excited to see growth and the revitalization occurring.”

“I want to express my gratitude and excitement for the strong support this project can offer for the future growth of LaFayette,” LaFayette Mayor Kenneth Vines said. “I know that I speak for our city Ccouncil, citizens, and business when I say that we do not take this support for granted, and we all realize that with this support comes tremendous responsibility. I will continue to support and pledge the resources needed to be able to bring positive results for our citizens and city.”