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OPELIKA, Ala. - Main Street Alabama celebrated local program successes at the ninth annual Awards of Excellence on August 18th, at the Auburn Marriott Opelika Resort Hotel & Spa at Grand National in Opelika.

During the Awards of Excellence program, Main Street Alabama’s President and State Coordinator, Mary Helmer Wirth, and Assistant State Coordinator, Trisha Black, honored projects and individuals that made tremendous impacts in their respective communities. Alabama Municipal Electric Authority sponsored the event.

The Awards of Excellence recognized winners in the categories of Preservation, Historic Rehabilitation, Fundraising, Public Relations, Public/Private Partnerships, Business Development, Economic Impact, Adaptive Reuse, Promotion, Business Promotion, Marketing, Placemaking, Non-Historic Building Design, and Planning & Public Space. Local Main Street programs also selected a Main Street Hero that honored an individual, business, or organization that made an outstanding contribution to their program.

Main Street Alabama added four new designated communities this year, including the City of LaFayette. The city and representatives from the application committee were honored at the event.

Additionally, at the awards ceremony, Ansley Emfinger of the Chambers County Development Authority was honored with the Main Street Hero Award for her efforts in securing full Main Street designation for the City of LaFayette.

“It was an honor to be involved in the process of LaFayette receiving Main Street designation,” Emfinger said. “There is so much potential in the downtown area and being a piece of this initial process has been invigorating. Receiving the Hero Award at the Main Street Alabama LAB 2022 Conference was a complete surprise. It has been my privilege to work alongside the people and businesses in LaFayette to receive the designation, and I look forward to continue working with LaFayette Main Street to make it a successful organization.”

“Last night we celebrated the accomplishments of local Main Street programs," Wirth said. "These programs represent small rural cities as well as larger, more urban communities. The diversity of these communities makes each one unique, each are working within their own capacity to improve, reinvigorate, and revitalize their downtown or neighborhood commercial districts. We were inspired by local success stories and by the businesses, organizations, and individuals who are dedicated to making their communities the best they can be.”

The Awards of Excellence Banquet is a highlight of LAB, a three-day conference that bolsters the efforts of communities participating in the nationally acclaimed Main Street program or those communities interested in district revitalization. The ninth annual event drew over 150 community leaders from Alabama.

Main Street Alabama has 32 Designated Programs and over 43 Network Communities. Alexander City, Anniston, Athens, Atmore, Birmingham’s Historic 4th Ave Business District, Birmingham's Woodlawn District, Calera, Columbiana, Decatur, Demopolis, Dothan, Elba, Enterprise, Eufaula, Florence, Foley, Fort Payne, Gadsden, Headland, Heflin, Jasper, LaFayette, Leeds, Marion, Monroeville, Montevallo, Opelika, Oxford, Scottsboro, South Huntsville, Talladega, and Wetumpka each have Designated Programs and new communities are added annually. Application workshops are held in January for communities interested in becoming a Designated Program. Until then, communities interested in district revitalization can participate in Main Street Alabama's Network.

Main Street Alabama focuses 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.

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

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