Dear Editor:

Four years ago, we learned that Scottsboro and Jackson County would be the recipients of grants for the revitalization of our downtown square. Together, the grants would amount to around one million dollars.

Our imaginations were piqued and we all started dreaming about what our community could look like with this boost to the heart of both the city and county. This sparked a conversation on Facebook about what we wanted our community to be, and to be known for five, ten years or longer down the road.

That is when the ideas really started flowing. So much so, that another citizen was inspired to corral all of the ideas being exchanged onto a new Facebook group called, REVIVE Scottsboro. It became clear after a while that the ideas on REVIVE were never-ending, and while that was great, we needed to be more focused if anything was to get done.

A group for the express purpose of focusing attention on our downtown area was formed.

The group, Downtown Scottsboro, began with the singular mission of turning downtown Scottsboro into an arts and entertainment district. After four years, the membership has changed several times, but our mission has remained.

Our initial thought was to bring interest back to the heart of the city by hosting some events on the courthouse square. We began with a couple of movie nights on the courthouse lawn. Then we branched out with a Christmas event, Jingle Bell Square, and a marketplace event in the spring.

These events have been well supported and attended, but anyone with eyes can see that we still have not achieved our ultimate goal. Scottsboro still does not have an arts and entertainment district.

Other than the events we host, what has come from our efforts is the emergence of a barbecue committee which hosts a barbecue festival in the fall and the formation of the Downtown Redevelopment Authority (DRA). The DRA can accept grants and put that money to use on our square.

Currently, DRA is working on placing park benches and business signs around the square for a more cohesive look. And that initial grant money that sparked so many dreams and ideas has gone into new sidewalks, wiring and other upgrades to the square.

Downtown Scottsboro was also able to help with the purchase of speakers for the square so that we could enjoy Christmas music during the holidays and for music and announcements at other events.

A Christmas committee was formed and from that committee the idea for a tree trail grew. This year Scottsboro hosted our first Jingle Bell Trail.

I'm telling you all this so you will see how much we have accomplished in four years and how far we still have to go. Everything we have done, every event we have hosted has been positive and we are proud of the effort and determination that has gotten us to this point, but we can't quit now and we realize we need help. We need professional help.

Hello, Main Street Alabama!

Main Street Alabama describes itself as a nonprofit organization that 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.

Main Street Alabama has been instrumental in boosting the downtowns of many Alabama towns and, really, changing the economy of those communities. From Florence to Opelika and Monroeville to Gadsden, cities and towns across the state are changing the course of their history with the help of Main Street Alabama.

Recently, a representative from Main Street Alabama came to Scottsboro to tell our citizens about the program and the ways in which it could benefit Scottsboro.

We are at a place in our history where we need to make some decisions about what we want Scottsboro to look like in a year, five years, ten years.

We can't just leave it to our elected leaders and then become angry and disappointed when things don't turn out the way we want them to.

Become interested. Become involved. Become informed.

 

—Richi Reynolds

Scottsboro

(1) comment

GLMorgan

There have been many excellent development plans to improve the downtown Scottsboro area. In my opinion, the 2000 Plan and the 2020 plan were all well meaning but failed to accomplish bringing business and people back to the downtown area.

Instead, development has occurred along the Highway 72 Corridor. Let us hope that Main Street will help to revitalize downtown Scottsboro and bring business and people back to Downtown Scottsboro instead of more attorneys and loan sharks.

Bringing business and people back to the downtown area will have a substantial cost. Many of the existing structures in the downtown area have structural problems, particularly the roofs..

The Main Street Program placed emphasis on First Monday Trade Days, a City of Scottsboro event. Hopefully Main Street will revitalize First Monday and an events coordinator will mange the program. It deserves support as it is the longest standing cultural event in Jackson County but has received no support from local government nor local government affiliated groups for the past 10 years. The last substantial funding for advertisement was provided by me.

Good Luck to the Main Street Program.

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