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Main Street Alabama Kicks Off Full-Market Study to Boost Business in Downtown Decatur

Main Street Alabama kicked off an intensive study of Decatur this month as it works to help the city become a “Designated Main Street” community.

The organization, which tapped Decatur, Oxford and Monroeville last summer for its community and economic development program, hosted an organizational meeting with the Decatur Downtown Redevelopment Authority and Downtown Professionals Network in Franklin, Tenn.

Jay Schlinsog, president of DPN, is working to finish a full-market analysis that will offer ideas for boosting business opportunities in the city center.

“The downtown community has strong leadership through the DDRA and the final report will include implementable strategies for strengthening the districts’ offerings that will be based on the primary market research we will be conducting,” he said in a statement.

Downtown Decatur has welcomed several new eateries during the past year, including The Big Easy, Moe’s Original Bar B Que, Jefferson’s, Zaxby’s and Gyro Uno. Development is underway on Phase II of the Alabama Center for the Arts, which will feature a 200-seat black box theater, classroom space, dressing rooms, set preparation areas, studios, faculty offices and a recital room that fits 150.

Earlier this week, Decatur broke ground on a $2.5 million renovation of the 1905 historic train depot. Cook’s Pest Control will soon begin construction on a new $15 million expanded natural science museum in downtown Decatur.

Main Street Alabama President and state coordinator Mary Helmer has said Decatur has a strong existing downtown redevelopment program but needs some help in business expansion and development.

The in-depth study will “determine market leakage and analyze what downtown Decatur can reasonably recapture to strengthen already existing businesses and recruit new businesses to the district,” she said.

“Tools such as this market analysis are a key reason communities pursue Designation for our downtown revitalization program,” she said. “The insights that we will yield from this study will give DDRA clear direction when it comes to addressing market leakage, recruiting entrepreneurs to address weaknesses and building on our downtown’s strengths.”

The report will be available in May.


January 27, 2015

Lucy Berry | lberry@al.com By Lucy Berry | lberry@al.com

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