Main Street Enterprise: EV Committee
SURVEYING | MONITORING | RECRUITING
The Economic Vitality Committee finds new purposes for properties. By helping existing businesses expand and recruiting new ones to respond to the changing market, the committee helps convert unused space into productive property.
The Main Street Enterprise EV Committee delivered surveys to each property in the Main Street District at the beginning of 2023. One survey collected data to be recorded in the Maestro database to track opening dates, numbers of employees, etc. The second survey was strictly confidential and provided the committee with insight as to how businesses performed in 2022 and what they want to prioritize moving forward.
BUSINESS INCUBATOR CONTAINER
Main Street Enterprise recently received a downtown incubator to be placed downtown! The incubator is repurposed from a 8FT x 20FT shipping container and includes air conditioning, sliding glass doors, two screened windows, a custom built desk, ceramic tile floors, adjustable shelves and more!
The incubator is provided by Main Street Alabama through a USDA Rural Development grant with the intention to have entrepreneurs occupy the container to test their small business in the market and eventually find a permanent brick and mortar in the downtown area.
DOWNTOWN OVERLAY DISTRICT ORDINANCE PROPOSAL
The Main Street Enterprise EV and Design committees are pursuing a plan to make the district more appealing to visitors and business owners.
A downtown overlay district sets certain design standards for the buildings and business in an area. Some of those standards include the first floor and basement of buildings would be for business purposes only, exteriors of buildings would need to use approved materials in construction and additions, and business owners would not be allowed to use their property for storage purposes.
The committee conducted an anonymous survey to get feedback from the community before proposing the idea to City Council.
The purpose of this overlay would be to create consistency downtown and to keep the area desirable for visitors.
REAL ESTATE REDEVELOPMENT PLAN
Repurposing under-utilized real estate in downtown Enterprise was the topic of a two-day visit by a nationally recognized firm specializing in economic and downtown development.
Joe Borgstrom of Place + Main, LLC was brought in as part of an Economic Development Administration grant awarded to Main Street Alabama, which, in turn, selected Main Street Enterprise as one of the recipients.
During Borgstrom’s visit to Enterprise, he met with City leaders, local builders, Main Street Enterprise Board members and other community members to discuss multiple topics including market data, building costs, economic growth patterns, and more.
Borgstrom also joined Tanya Maloney of Main Street Alabama and Montgomery in privately touring select vacant properties downtown, during which time he interviewed the property owners to learn their ideas of future use.
During the walking tour, attendees wrote their ideas for each of the specific properties on sticky notes that were collected at the conclusion of the event. Borgstrom took them and presented the information Tuesday morning to the Main Street Board and various committee members. He also included information about what businesses are in surplus and what future business types have opportunity in the downtown area. Based on the data, Borgstrom offered recommendations on how to incorporate those business types in the existing downtown area and how to potentially fill vacant properties. He also provided additional recommendations including component grant programs to help business owners improve building aesthetics, vacant building ordinance implementation, ways to encourage development of additional housing near downtown and information about seeking national historic registration for the entire district to result in property owners being eligible for tax credits.
Borgstrom provided a financial analysis and pro forma for each participating property owner. The service, which would usually cost the property owners thousands of dollars, is provided free of charge through Main Street Alabama.
The purpose of economic development is to create community wealth. To fill the vacant properties downtown with profitable businesses would be a success not only for downtown, but for the City. Additionally, the market analysis information provided by Place + Main will be beneficial to any entrepreneur because it shows the data of where the best areas of opportunity are in Enterprise.
ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT ORDINANCE
Main Street Enterprise and the Enterprise Chamber of Commerce worked together to develop the Entertainment District Ordinance for Council approval. The Downtown Enterprise Entertainment District allows guests age 21+ to carry alcoholic beverages in an approved container within the boundaries of the district during designated days and times.
This ordinance allows Downtown Enterprise to attract lively events, entertainment, and dining as well as complement activities within our district.