Main Street Network
The Coastal Gateway Regional Main Street Network launched in 2015 as the first of its kind in the state of Alabama, connecting the region’s sole Main Street city, Monroeville, with the other seven member cities across the region in a network committed to creating jobs while keeping the character of historic downtown areas.
Monroeville was named an Alabama Main Street Community in 2014. With the help of a grant provided by Alabama Power Company, the other seven Coastal Gateway member cities – Butler in Choctaw County; Jackson, Grove Hill and Thomasville in Clarke County; Evergreen in Conecuh County; and Brewton and Atmore in Escambia County – were able to partner with Main Street to benefit from the program’s guidance and evaluative skills.
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 program has been in operation in Alabama for more than 30 years.
In addition to individual Main Street Alabama visits to each community, Coastal Gateway will host two regional workshops annually, one in the spring and one in the fall. Main Street Alabama will provide training in the morning followed by a sharing of best practices, first by Monroeville as the region's Main Street Alabama Community and then by each of the seven Regional Main Street Network communities.
The Main Street program helps towns utilize and preserve its historical assets, from the old courthouse in Monroeville to the Strand Theater in Atmore to the civic complex and lofts development in downtown Thomasville. Those assets are then put into use in a wide variety of ways, from retail to public-use to commercial.
"Coastal Gateway believes that the courthouse squares and downtowns are the hearts and souls of our communities. And we believe that Main Street Alabama is a tremendous resource for revitalization. We thank Alabama Power for helping to make our communities the first regional network in Alabama," said John Johnson, executive director of Coastal Gateway EDA.