Main Street Alabama Holds “Awards of Excellence” Ceremony


OPELIKA, Ala. – Main Street Alabama celebrated local program successes at the ninth annual Awards of Excellence August 18, at the Auburn Marriott Opelika Resort Hotel & Spa at Grand National in Opelika.

During the Awards of Excellence program, Main Street Alabama’s President and State Coordinator, Mary Helmer Wirth, and Assistant State Coordinator, Trisha Black, honored projects and individuals that made tremendous impacts in their respective communities. Alabama Municipal Electric Authority sponsored the event.

The Awards of Excellence recognized winners in the categories of Preservation, Historic Rehabilitation, Fundraising, Public Relations, Public/Private Partnerships, Business Development, Economic Impact, Adaptive Reuse, Promotion, Business Promotion, Marketing, Placemaking, Non-Historic Building Design, and Planning & Public Space. Local Main Street programs also selected a Main Street Hero that honored an individual, business or organization that made an outstanding contribution to their program.

Downtown Gadsden, Inc. nominated several projects for consideration.  The following were selected as winners:

Main Street Hero – Syndee Isbell

Excellence in Business Promotion – Shamrockin’ With My Gnomies and St. Patrick’s Pub Crawl

Excellence in Public/Private Partnerships – Hometown Hospitality with Alabama Extension team

Excellence in Promotion – Plaid Friday

Excellence in Adaptive Reuse – Times Square on Locust 

“On behalf of our Alabama Extension team, we are incredibly honored and humbled to be recognized by Alabama Main Street for this exciting project,” said Eric Wright, DGI Board member, and Etowah County Extension Coordinator.  “Alabama Extension is grateful to have partners such as Downtown Gadsden, Inc. a Main Street program. Without partnerships with great organizations like these, it would be much more difficult for Extension to make the kinds of positive impacts we strive to achieve through our work.” Wright commented.

“Last night we celebrated the accomplishments of local Main Street programs,” Wirth said. “These programs represent small rural cities as well as larger, more urban communities. The diversity of these communities makes each one unique, each are working within their own capacity to improve, reinvigorate, and revitalize their downtown or neighborhood commercial districts. We were inspired by local success stories and by the businesses, organizations and individuals who are dedicated to making their communities the best they can be.”

The Awards of Excellence Banquet is a highlight of LAB, a three-day conference that bolsters the efforts of communities participating in the nationally acclaimed Main Street program or those communities interested in district revitalization. The ninth annual event drew over 150 community leaders from Alabama.

Main Street Alabama has 32 Designated Programs and over 43 Network Communities. Alexander City, Anniston, Athens, Atmore, Birmingham’s Historic 4th Ave Business District, Birmingham’s Woodlawn District, Calera, Columbiana, Decatur, Demopolis, Dothan, Elba, Enterprise, Eufaula, Florence, Foley, Fort Payne, Gadsden, Headland, Heflin, Jasper, LaFayette, Leeds, Marion, Monroeville, Montevallo, Opelika, Oxford, Scottsboro, South Huntsville, Talladega, and Wetumpka each have Designated Programs and new communities are added annually. Application workshops are held in January for communities interested in becoming a Designated Program. Until then, communities interested in district revitalization can participate in Main Street Alabama’s Network.

Main Street Alabama focuses on bringing jobs, dollars and people back to Alabama’s historic communities. Economic development is at the heart of our efforts to revitalize downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.

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