Who knew that when the Foley Main Street district was accepted into the national main street program that less than two years later COVID-19 would strike? Main Street America has a 40-year history of success with their strategic and comprehensive four-point approach to problem solving through innovative and entrepreneurial thinking. By applying that formula Foley Main Street is moving forward despite COVID-19 to increase the economic vibrancy of the Foley Main Street district.
Has the interest in downtown Foley dropped? No. It has stayed steady with inquiries. The interest in downtowns is growing. Millennials are moving back closer to downtowns. The market study Foley Main Street facilitated in 2019 showed that 46% of respondents would be interested in moving downtown.
“As a landscape architect, I'm a fan (and attempted purveyor) of great places. Downtowns can be some of the greatest places. History, architecture, parks, walkability, authenticity; some of the things that make downtowns great - downtown Foley has them. Our office is here, my family's home is here, and I serve on the board not only because of my investment, but because I'm a fan!” - Chad Watkins, President Foley Main Street, Inc.
Our Design Committee, chaired by Sherry Sullivan, has stayed strong and on point with our mural and public art project. Working with the city we are amending the façade grant and are finalizing an ordinance and guidelines for murals and public art. Our 2020 projects are on track. The goal: to have an art mural in each quadrant of Foley Main Street by the end of the year. We are working on one pocket park as well.
Right now, through June 5, 2020, we are conducting a COVID -19 survey for residents and consumers about their reactions and change of habits in relation to supporting businesses. The Gateway Initiative is helping us get the word out about this survey. The results will be shared locally and also passed on to Main Street National. The link to the survey is:
Please feel free to participate and to share with friends, family and neighbors. The more people who participate, the more accurate the information.
Bottomline, the future of our main street district is a reflection of community image, pride, prosperity and level of investment. A healthy main street protects property values in surrounding residential neighborhoods. We must move forward looking for innovative ways to keep our businesses and thus our communities strong, Foley Main Street is researching creative ideas to implement to support our downtown no matter what the future holds. Our downtowns are the hearts of our cities. Foley Main Street is proud to represent the Heart of Foley.