A Main Street Town: Main Street officially kicks off in Demopolis
Published 3:32 pm Friday, July 8, 2022
An enthusiastic crowd gathered at the Marengo County History and Archives Museum last Tuesday, June 28 to hear the official announcement of Demopolis joining the Main Street Alabama program. Those gathered at the museum heard the broad outline of what being chosen by Main Street means for the city and how the community can get involved.
Mayor Woody Collins expressed his excitement for the program and praised the Main Street Committee for their work.
“I am so excited for these young people who have put this Main Street Committee together,” said Collins. “This group has realized that this is an opportunity to forever change the face of this community.
Mary Helmer Wirth, President and State Coordinator of Main Street Alabama, has held the position for nine years and said it “has been a joy to see communities blossom and grow.” Wirth grew up in a small Kansas town and has also served as a local Main Street Director.
“My mother always said “Leave it better than you found it” and I took that to heart. I think we really do get the opportunity to change the world just a little bit. There’s not much better than that and that is what you can do with your Main Street program.”
Wirth also said that the Main Street program is successful only if the community is willing to help it be successful.
“Main Street works 100 percent of the time if the community works it,” said Wirth. “We are not miracle workers with Main Street Alabama. What we are are people who want to work by your side to make your community better. If you are willing to put in the time and energy you’re going to be a successful program.”
Local Main Street director Rhae Darsey said the program gives Demopolis a “very common-sense way to rebuild our historic downtown.” She said that without the downtown area, Demopolis is just another city, but with the downtown area Demopolis is amazing.
“I am so thankful for everyone who has offered support. This has been something I have wanted to do since the minute I touched the ground here,” said Darsey.
Darsey also announced that in two months the Demopolis Main Street program raised $83,000 to help fund the project. She stressed that the community needs to keep up the enthusiasm and continue to get involved.
After the kickoff, those in attendance were allowed to briefly tour the upstairs area of the Marengo County Historical Archives Museum where Main Street Demopolis will have its headquarters. Lists of what it needs to open the office included $800 for new windows, $200 for handrails, and $600 for floor repairs just to name a few.
Main Street Alabama is focused on bringing jobs, dollars, and people back to Alabama’s historic communities. Economic development is at the heart of the organization’s efforts to revitalize downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.
The organization is also affiliated with the National Main Street Four-Point Approach to help communities organize themselves for success, create vibrant public spaces through design, promote their districts, and enhance their economic base.