If you see “5 or 6 people bouncing around” south Huntsville over the next few days, there’s no need to call 911.
Most likely it’s the resource team from Main Street Alabama doing research as part of its task of making recommendations for the UrbanMain Street South Huntsville program.
Main Street Alabama began in 2009 to serve as state coordinator of the national Main Street program. It follows a 30-year-old model for community revitalization that has seen great success nationwide.
A nonprofit organization, Main Street Alabama stresses public-private partnerships, broad community engagement, and strategies that create jobs, spark new investment, attract visitors, and spur growth. Main Street builds on the authentic history, culture, and attributes of specific places, to bring sustainable change.
The resource team will collect information through meetings, interviews, on-the-street engagement, tours and the like. They will then present their recommendations at a meeting Thursday at 4:30 p.m. in the Grissom High School auditorium.
“It’s a great opportunity to see change and be involved in the change,” said Mary Helmer, the Main Street Alabama state coordinator.
On Tuesday, the team will take a driving and walking tour of the South Huntsville Main Street district – the South Memorial Parkway corridor from Golf Road to Ditto Landing. There will also be meetings with city officials, community and economic development officials, Realtors, property owners, civic groups and the like. There will be a public vision session 5-8 p.m. in the Grissom High School cafeteria.
The team will meet with business owners, religious leaders and students on Wednesday afternoon. Then, from 4-6 p.m., the team will hold “on-the-street” interviews with the community at Rosie’s Plaza.
“We’ll be grabbing people and asking questions,” Helmer said.
City Council President Jennie Robinson said this is an exciting time for south Huntsville.
“This kicks off three important days,” she said. “This is going to be a community process … this is a community vision.”
She said the area’s diversity represents challenges for the community.
“We need services for the graying community, certain things for the millennials and for the (Redstone) Arsenal, like car rentals, hotels, restaurants,” she said. “It will be interesting to see how Main Street gathers the information.”
Jerry Cargile, president of the South Huntsville Business Association, said the program is a boost for the community.
“With Main Street, we see an opportunity to face the challenges.”
What it all comes down to, however, is community participation and input, Helmer said.
“It’s time for the community to tell us,” she said. “This is South Huntsville’s UrbanMain Program.
“South Huntsville, it’s up to you.”