Brewton added to Main Street program network

Published 5:08 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Brewton was among seven cities that recently came together in Monroeville for the initial meeting of the Coastal Gateway Main Street Regional Downtown Network.
The meetings were held as part of a program designed to connect seven cities in a network with Monroeville, which is a Main Street city, and provide for efficient training and sharing of best practices between all members. By doing so, the cities that are not full Main Street members get access to two training sessions in 2015, conducted by state Main Street staff. Alabama Main Street director Mary Helmer conducted the session in Monroeville, focused on promotional activities.
“We’re pleased that our region was able to benefit from this program,” said John A. Johnson, executive director of Coastal Gateway Regional Economic Development Alliance. “The training alone is a substantial benefit to these communities. We’re happy we were able to help facilitate these meetings and help bring our area closer together.”
The Coastal Gateway Main Street Regional Downtown Network is one of the first of its kind in the state, and was funded by a grant from Alabama Power. Members include Butler, Jackson, Grove Hill, Thomasville, Evergreen, Brewton and Atmore.
“We’re very thankful to Alabama Power for supporting this program,” Johnson said. “Alabama Power generously offered to fund this initiative and bring the cities of our region to the table. We hope the fact all the regional players are involved will help spread the effect across a wider footprint.”
As part of the Main Street’s downtown network program, affiliated cities receive training in two subjects, receive five hours of telephone consulting with Main Street staff, gain access to the Main Street library and email reports, and are eligible for discounted rates on a wide range of other Main Street program services.
But it’s the connections with other cities that might prove the most valuable of all.
“It was great to see our region’s cities coming together to share ideas,” said Jess Nicholas, assistant director for communication and research for Coastal Gateway. “This is a big region, geographically, and it’s not always easy to get everyone under the same roof. Having the opportunity to brainstorm about both problems and solutions is quite valuable.”
For more information on the Main Street program, visit
Coastal Gateway is a partnership of Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia and Monroe counties.