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Athens Main Street garnered awards this week for projects that highlight historic preservation, pedestrian safety and youth engagement. The City of Athens Street Department and Athens Mayor's Youth Commission won two of those awards.
The projects represent millions of dollars invested in improving the heart of Limestone County, which is Downtown Athens.Main Street Alabama hosted its annual Awards of Excellence recently in Florence and recognized Main Street programs throughout the state for their efforts to create jobs and maintain the character of communities by revitalizing downtowns.
Athens Main Street won the following awards:● Excellence in Planning and Public Space – The Athens Street Department won for its pedestrian railroad crossing on Market Street where steps and a handicap accessible ramp were added to safely connect the shops on Market Street east of the railroad tracks to The Square on the west side of the tracks.
● Community Award – The Athens Mayor's Youth Commission won for engaging high school students in civic and community service programs. This included students learning about downtown-based organizations and historic downtown sites through volunteering at downtown events, creating bicentennial-themed videos and touring iconic sites.
● Excellence in Architectural Design – First Presbyterian Church won for the renovation of the former Goodyear store, circa 1953, into the Revival building on Washington Street. Revival is an event venue that offers an open area with kitchen, meeting rooms and outdoor space.
● Excellence in Historic Preservation – The Limestone County Courthouse, circa 1918, won for the restoration project that addressed growth and safety needs while maintaining historic integrity. The renovation added courtrooms, improved plumbing and added structural support.
“I”m thrilled to see these organizations and local agencies recognized for their revitalization projects. We are fortunate to have community commitment and engagement. These awards are testament to the involvement and progressive mindset of the community. Downtown Athens is the heart and spirit of Limestone County and the City of Athens. I’m confident we will continue to evolve as one of the best places to live and visit in Alabama”, said Melanie Newton, Executive Director of Athens Main Street.
Main Street Alabama’s President and State Coordinator Mary Helmer said the award winners in Athens and across the state represent the most innovative downtown revitalization projects.“These projects are truly charting new territory in downtown revitalization in Alabama,” she said. “The effort and leadership it takes to move these projects from concept through completion are tremendous, and we are thrilled to acknowledge such achievements.”
As part of the festivities, Gov. Kay Ivey proclaimed Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, as Main Street Alabama Day. Main Street Alabama focuses on bringing jobs, dollars and people back to Alabama’s historic communities.