Cities in rural Alabama are seeing a rebirth in their downtowns, with a blitz of new business openings, property renovations and multimillion-dollar investments.
Pop-up shops, green spaces, art festivals and social media buzz are among the trends that are helping drive the efforts to bring merchants, residents and visitors back to the heart of the community.
While the COVID-19 pandemic was a setback in some ways, the changing workplace is a plus, said Trisha Black, assistant state coordinator for Main Street Alabama, which works to revitalize downtowns and neighborhoods across the state.
“We are seeing an increase in downtown living and Airbnbs, even in our smaller communities,” she said. “The pandemic has proved that people can live anywhere and continue to work virtually.”