Story by Jody Stewart
For months now private citizens and business owners have been meeting in LaFayette’s historic district at different locations with one goal in mind, to score a Main Street Designation. Ansley Emfinger from the Chambers County Development Authority explained the group’s goal “Vision LaFayette is seeking a Main Street Alabama designation for LaFayette. As a community we are committed to invigorating and revitalizing our historic downtown district to reflect the renewed optimism and civic pride of all citizens. Within the last fifty years the LaFayette community has experienced highs and lows. The turnout we have had at our Vision LaFayette meetings show that the citizens believe in the vision that LaFayette can be a thriving business center again. The community goal is to get a Main Street designation and to have the program’s focus on our downtown which will make citizens more focused on the future prosperity of LaFayette for our community, citizens and businesses.”
Jimmy Stewart the Vision LaFayette Coordinator explained, “We are seeing enthusiasm in our town, the square is fuller than I can remember it in years. Citizens have expressed they want growth, new businesses and people come to the area and experience our ‘Southern Charm’ and hospitality.”
*Vision LaFayette’s focus is on drawing new businesses and tourist to LaFayette through a Main Street District designation. A Main Street Alabama Designation would bring focus on infrastructure improvements, building renovations, business recruitment and incentives, and community events and outreach.
Owner of Blessed Body and Fitness Pam Holloway said, “We have been in business for over 10 years. I hope Main Street comes to LaFayette. We need the uplift, the revenue for the city. We love this community, and we love LaFayette. Please Main Street choose LaFayette.”
Dori Harmon owner of Harmon Insurance expressed, “LaFayette has many advantages to people that are wanting to conduct business or move their family here. The city has a low cost of doing business and cost of living compared to surrounding areas. This makes the city more attractive to potential businesses and citizens. The Main Street Program would offer the platform to market that narrative more effectively.”
“Why not LaFayette” say’s Mayor Vines. “We want Main Street to come in. I know if Main Street comes in it will help our city grow in many ways.”
“The biggest hurdle for most Main Street Designated towns is to attract people” states Chief Doody, LaFayette Fire Chief who has been part of Vision LaFayette for three years. “I am amazed some days when I set at my desk and watch the traffic flow through our town. Most cities that have received a Main Street designation are off the beaten path. Here in LaFayette we are the beaten path. We have just got to offer something to get the traffic to stop.”
If LaFayette receives a Main Street Designation the revitalization process would bring in new business and help the current businesses that are already investing in the community, thrive. Revitalization would promote more local events that bring more people from out of town to the area. Current events in our area are already well attended and show that the people of the area support LaFayette. Incorporating more events would create revenue streams and bring more people to the area
Jimmy Stewart, “The Vision LaFayette Committee submitted a detailed written application which involved a diverse group of citizens, business owners and city officials to complete. This process alone has brought our community closer together.”
A selected group of the Vision LaFayette Committee will be traveling to Birmingham to showcase our community to a panel of judges on May 25t.h. This group will act as act as the voice of LaFayette in asking for a Main Street Designation.
Jennifer Graves owner of Gimme Some Sugar, “I want to see our historic district alive and thriving. I want to see a city that provides its citizens with all its needs.”
All citizens are encouraged to visit the Facebook page Vision LaFayette and follow it. Meetings times and dates are posted on our page. Even if you have not been involved in Vision LaFayette up till now, it is not to late to get involved. If awarded the designation the vision will begin. The announcement of the designated 2022 cities will happen on June 1st.