Downtown Foley Main Street District Walks Away With Multiple State Awards

Last Updated 8/31/2023In News, Economic Development

Left to Right: Foley Main Street had a great representation at the Main Street Alabama Annual Awards Banquet. Foley Main Street Executive Director Darrelyn Dunmore, Wayne and Carolyne Hollis, Kelly Hollis, Tootsie Hollis-Allen, Chloe Salinas Foley Art Center Director, Wayne Dyess City of Foley Executive Director of Planning and Infrastructure, Foley Main Street Board member Kristin Hellmich and City of Foley Mayor Ralph Hellmich.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - On August 17, Main Street Alabama held its tenth annual Awards of Excellence Banquet at Stovehouse in Huntsville to celebrate the successes of local programs. The event was sponsored by Alabama Municipal Electric Authority and Alfa Companies. Main Street Alabama's President and State Coordinator, Mary Helmer Wirth, and Assistant State Coordinator, Trisha Black, recognized projects and individuals who made significant contributions to their communities. The Awards of Excellence program highlighted the tremendous impacts of these honorees in their respective areas.

The Awards of Excellence recognized winners in seventeen categories.  Foley Main Street district was recognized with three Awards of Excellence one for Promotion and one for Planning and Public Space and one for Historic Preservation. Foley Main Street District joined Heflin, Montevallo, and Oxford for reaching a major milestone of ten million reinvestment efforts. Economic impact numbers reported monthly by Foley Main Street of private property owner investment, property bought by private investors and the City of Foley investment in downtown improvements was used in the calculation of this recognition.

The Downtown Foley Main Street district was awarded an Award of Excellence for Planning and Public Space for the Pine Street Pocket Park which began as a dream of the City of Foley Beautification Committee to create a park where the old Foley Methodist Church used to be located on the corner of Pine St. and Laurel Ave.  In partnership with Baldwin County Board of Education who leased the land to the city, the city created an outdoor auditorium to be used by the schools, and for the community to enjoy. Foley Main Street received a $20,000 AARP community grant for the outdoor musical instruments located at the back of the handicapped accessible stage. What started out as a minor project blossomed into the city committing and spending over $600,000 for the park. 

Hollis Interiors was awarded the Award of Excellence in Historic Rehabilitation award which recognizes outstanding historic rehabilitation projects that continue the economic use of a historic building. The project must be located in the Main Street District and includes exterior work but could be both exterior and interior. It must meet the Secretary of Interior Standards for Rehabilitation.  The Hollis building was constructed by the George C. Randolph company for the Orange Crush Bottling Company in 1922. The Hollis’s decided to move forward preserving and revitalizing their building, which they have owned since 1952. The windows were uncovered when the signs were taken down. The Hollis’s fixed the windows and left them exposed. The project consisted of removal of signs, making repairs to exposed windows, caulk, and paint. Repoint and repair mortar, paint brick and mortar, and replace front doors. They also purchased and installed new signs and awnings.  

Foley Main Street district was also awarded the Award of Excellence for Promotion with their  CATalyst event. The CATalyst event kicked off Cat Alley, a Foley Main Street public art initiative, held in the heart of Downtown Foley. Featuring artist ARCY painting the first mural with a cat hidden in it,  Tunes and delicious lunch options under cozy tents, and a bar for those craving a drink set the stage. They had 1500 entries in the Cat Alley elementary school art contest, 3,000 sets of flyers and color sheets went out to parents and teachers which enhanced the promotion of Catalyst. 1,500 plus attended the event. Foley Main Street also partnered with Safe Harbor Coalition to promote their Trap, Neuter, and Release program for South Baldwin County.

Local Main Street programs select a Main Street Hero that honors an individual, business or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to their program and was recognized at the Toast to Heroes Reception sponsored by Regions Bank prior to the banquet.

Foley Art Center was awarded the Foley Main Street Hero Award.  Since 1966 The Foley Art Center has served the Gulf Coast area with Cultural Enrichment Programs in local schools, Grants to Art teachers at area schools for ages 4-18 and art classes for children and adults. From the dreams of fifteen local citizens, it has become a vital force in the Cultural Development of Baldwin County. Foley Art Center was a sponsor for the Foley Main Street CATalyst event - sponsoring the art contest and the Downtown Foley 28-foot 7 panel community mural. The art contest went out to over 3,000 students, teachers, and parents. As a sponsor, and a downtown business, they share their time and talents with Foley Main Street.

Mayor Ralph Hellmich attended the celebration. "Foley Main Street, celebrating their fifth year, has exceeded the city's expectations from when we began the process of becoming a main street district.  We came away with state awards recognizing the outstanding work happening in Downtown Foley. Our progress shows what we can achieve when we partner with private businesses and organizations to accomplish goals.”

The full list of winners and descriptions can be found on the Newsroom page on Main Street Alabama’s website, www.mainstreetalabama.org.

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"Last night, a celebration was held to recognize the achievements of various local Main Street programs, said Wirth. "Each community has been working tirelessly to improve, reinvigorate, and revitalize their downtown or district. The success stories shared at the event were truly inspiring, showcasing the dedication of businesses, organizations, and individuals in making their communities the best they can be."

It was a night of celebration and recognition for the hard work put in by these Main Street programs. The Awards of Excellence Banquet is a highlight of LAB, a three-day annual conference that bolsters the efforts of communities participating in the nationally acclaimed Main Street program or those communities interested in district revitalization. The tenth annual event drew over 150 community leaders from Alabama.

Main Street Alabama has 32 Designated Programs and 32 Network Communities. Alexander City, Anniston, Athens, Atmore, Birmingham’s Historic 4th Ave Business District, Birmingham's Woodlawn District, Calera, Centreville, Columbiana, Decatur, Demopolis, Elba, Enterprise, Eufaula, Florence, Foley, Fort Payne, Gadsden, Heflin, Jasper, LaFayette, Leeds, Marion, Monroeville, Montevallo, Opelika, Oxford, Scottsboro, South Huntsville, Russellville, Talladega, and Wetumpka each have Designated Programs. Communities interested in downtown revitalization can participate in Main Street Alabama's Network.

Main Street Alabama is a non-profit organization focusing 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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