June 2020
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Mary's Minute

Not normal...

It has been a tough three months or more for our nation, state and cities. My heart is breaking for all who are hurting both financially and personally as we deal with this crisis. We keep hearing this is the “new normal." I realize we will not be going back to what we were accustomed to in 2019, but am hopeful this is not normal moving forward. We have all been in a tailspin since March, trying to do our best with the situation we are facing. So, what have we been doing over the past months?

Since the beginning of the COVID‐19 crisis in the United States, the National Main Street Center (NMSC) and State Coordinating Programs like Main Street Alabama have been providing guidance and support to communities throughout the country, disseminating best practices, sources of funding, and other valuable tools to help small businesses and community leaders. The NMSC created a well organized, easy‐to‐use website directing users to the most relevant and useful resources for Main Street communities. MSA worked with Downtown Professionals Network on reopening strategies, and from that they created a website called REOPEN Main Street with targeted resources for community business and leaders. We then worked with Arnett Muldrow & Associates to release a series of videos providing specific strategies to aid businesses from e-commerce to social media.

We have maintained close contact with each of our Designated programs during this trying time. Rather than overwhelm our programs with information, we continue to share curated resources through regular State of the Street emails, daily for the first two months and now weekly. We convene bimonthly electronic meetings so that each program can report on the rapidly evolving situations in their communities and share all the creative ways they are helping their businesses respond to the crisis. Those meetings have been an outstanding example of Alabamians pulling together and helping each other! I have always been proud of our cities, am doubly so in this time. 

We facilitated a call recently on how community leaders and businesses across the nation are dealing with recent events of protests, both peaceful and otherwise. A phrase that came from that call was “uncomfortably comfortable” which to me is highly preferred to the “new normal.” Working together and respecting one another is essential as we move forward.
Finishing on a bright note; Main Street Alabama is preparing to roll out our COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan in our Designated cities, welcoming cities from the region to participate as well. Be on the lookout for a big announcement in the days to come.
Atmore Named Designated Community
Main Street Alabama welcomes Atmore as a Designated community. Atmore's dedication to the continued revitalization of the downtown, current partnerships with community organizations, the city’s commitment, and proven track record of many projects including the ongoing renovation of the Strand Theatre, earned high marks from the selection committee. Work in the community will begin June 23 with board training followed by a kick-off celebration.

Click to read full release.
COVID-19 Impact on Small Businesses

Main Street Alabama created an online survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses throughout the state. Data was collected from April 30 to May 15, with 83 respondents from 32 Alabama communities. This followed Main Street America’s survey that collected data nationwide from March 25 to April 6, 2020. Click the following to see results from both the Main Street Alabama and Main Street America surveys.

Designated communities report on what’s happening in their districts. Here are a few highlights as reported May 15:

Calera Main Street recently celebrated three openings in the district, including a gaming and hobby store, bakery, and fitness center. During the last couple months, they have been working with property owners on multiple renovations.

Headland Main Street has partnered with the Chamber of Commerce to host the Ram Cam News Channel to feature small businesses with curbside chats. In addition to supplying businesses with COVID-19 resources, they launched a #supportlocal Facebook page and produced a video with the Chamber to promote community spirit. View video by clicking here .

Registration information will be available soon for the 7th Annual aLABama Downtown Laboratory in Monroeville. Stay tuned.
It is important for Alabamians to get counted in the Census! Do your part by completing the questionnaire found by clicking here.
Communities Release New Videos
Athens also released their "We Are Athens" video and can be viewed by clicking here.
In collaboration with Downtown Professionals Network, this online resource provides tips and strategies for businesses and leaders as they continue to reopen their communities.
Governor Kay Ivey's office created this website for Alabamians to serve as a one stop shop for COVID-19 related information and available resources.

As a Main Street America™ Coordinating Program, Main Street Alabama helps to lead a powerful, grassroots network consisting of over 40 Coordinating Programs and over 1,200 neighborhoods and communities across the country committed to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development.
Stay in touch with Main Street Alabama
Main Street Alabama
880 Montclair Road, Suite 245
Birmingham, AL 35213