LaFayette beautifies through benches

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, February 21, 2024

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As people in LaFayette head out to shop or grab lunch around the square, they will now have brand-new benches to enjoy thanks to the efforts of LaFayette Main Street and the LaFayette Rotary Club.

The city of LaFayette installed three new benches as a part of the design project with Lafayette Main Street where people can take a break while shopping or enjoy the view of the historic courthouse.

Working in partnership with the Lafayette Rotary Club, Dr. Butch Busby, of the design committee, said they researched the best vendor and style to suit the functional and aesthetic needs of the city. 

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“We’re very excited about these downtown niches. They can be utilized during our Food Truck Festivals and our different events and just for citizens to be able to really sit down and take it all in,” said LaFayette Main Street Director DeAnna Hand. “Because the historic features that LaFayette has need to be admired and enjoyed.”

LaFayette Main Street, which was designated last year by Main Street Alabama, has worked to make efforts for economic stimulation, beautification and community engagement. 

After they’re done with their lunch, people will be able to dump their trash in the matching new receptacles installed in town. The benches and receptacles were chosen for their functionality, durability and modern style. 

The Lafayette Rotary Club applied for its annual Rotary District grant to donate toward the Main Street project. This year’s grant was for $2,250. The money comes from club dues made by local chapter members and comes back as a grant from the district (6860). 

Main Street Design Committee Chair Pamela Whitlow-Holloway said she was grateful to the hard work of Street Department Superintendent George Green and his crew, who installed the benches and receptacles around the square. 

Steve Wheeler, president of the LaFayette Rotary Club, said the grant was the second that they have donated to Main Street. Last year, the Rotary Club donated $2,400 in funding to secure flower pots to go around the square as well. 

Wheeler said the work Main Street has done has been a force for growth in the small town. 

“The positive movement that’s been made for business owners and that Main Street able to facilitate some of that and to obviously market it — that’s been excellent,” Wheeler said. 

LaFayette Main Street also began the Portraits of Honor campaign as part of the rejuvenation of downtown. Each month, the organization posted portraits of community members who left a lasting legacy in the upper windows of the old McClendon building. 

Not only did the project help highlight LaFayette’s finest but it helped to beautify an empty storefront on the square.

“We just really appreciate Main Street and Rotary Club for this grant,” said Mayor Kenneth Vines after the ceremony. “And we are doing some great things in Lafayette and just appreciate all the entities that’s just been a part of this great success. And look forward to some more projects coming from Main Street.”

The next step in the beautification process, Holloway said, is getting hanging pots for the streetlamps. She said the organization is also looking into funding to rejuvenate storefronts downtown. 

The organization has hosted several new community events including the Food Truck Festival, Love LaFayette Day, Downtown Movie Night and Downtown Trunk-or-Treat.