FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kay Moore
Downtown Gadsden celebrates successful 2017
Gadsden, AL – 2017 was another incredible year for downtown Gadsden. New businesses, new events, and new partnerships gave Downtown Gadsden, Inc. (DGI) something to celebrate. DGI sponsored their long running events such as First Friday, Girls Night Out, Third Thursday, Musical Mondays, Snacks with Santa, Party with a Purpose at the Pitman, Christmas Open House and the Chili Cook-Off as they do every year. These events continue to help downtown Gadsden grow and become a destination place for all ages.
2017 brought about several new events and new partnerships for Downtown Gadsden. Gadabout Art, a new “art walk” in Downtown Gadsden attracted 19 artists that lined the sidewalks for a beautiful Saturday during Mother’s Day weekend. DGI assisted with a treasure hunt in a partnership with the Gadsden/Etowah Emergency Management Agency (EMA). During spring break, a treasure hunt was designed for children and families to learn about emergency preparedness. Around 200 children participated in the inaugural event and DGI and EMA hope to continue with the event for years to come. The “Stars fell on Alabama” movie series at the Pitman quickly became a big hit. In a partnership with The University of Alabama Gadsden Center and the Gadsden Public Library, DGI showed a movie each month that had a connection to Alabama. The three organizations hosted this event in preparation for the Alabama Bicentennial celebration.
One of the largest events for DGI this year was the Downtown Music Festival. With the support of Steve Gilbert, Insurance Facilities and all the generous sponsors of this new event, DGI was the recipient of more than $18,000. The concert headliner was international artist Ana Popovic, a phenomenal guitarist/vocalist who played a wide variety of funk, rock/blues and jazz. The concert organizers were able to utilize local talent as openers giving it the hometown feel everyone loves.
The 5th Annual Sunsets Sips fundraising event brought another year of success, raising a total of $10,060. DGI plans to use funds raised from the 2017 Sunset Sips and the Downtown Music Festival to replace the rooftop lighting on the buildings on Broad Street. Thank you to Exchange Bank and all of the other generous sponsors for your support of this event.
2017 welcomed 7 new businesses in Downtown Gadsden while 2 businesses either relocated to other areas or closed. This resulted in a net gain of 5 new businesses in the downtown area. Occupancy continues to remain in excess of 90% of available properties. With continued business growth in Downtown Gadsden, it has become obvious that more loft living opportunities are becoming a necessity. In 2018 the inventory for loft apartments should double, making living in downtown more accessible.
The Federal Building located at 600 Broad Street has been an anchor in downtown since 1910. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the future had been suspect for the last few years. After being placed on an online auction, Campbell Development, LLC purchased the building in January. Campbell Development, LLC was founded by Etowah County natives Anna, Caleb and Jenna Campbell in 2008. The company owns property in various other cities, but wanted to invest in their home town while preserving a part of its history. Plans to redevelop the property to house various businesses are underway.
Downtown Gadsden Inc. Director, Kay Moore, and Marketing Manager, Mary Wood attended the Main Street Alabama Conference, aLABama Downtown Laboratory in Florence in August. At the conference, Downtown Gadsden, Inc. was awarded the following:
Community Award - Steve Gilbert
Excellence in Fundraising – Downtown Music Festival
Excellence in Architectural Design – Tide Resources, LLC; 512 Chestnut Street
Excellence in Planning & Public Space – Downtown Clock and Flower Beautification
Excellence in Historic Preservation –Pitman Theater Neon Sign
Downtown Gadsden Inc., Executive Director, Kay Moore, was honored with the Main Street Alabama Leadership Award. “Kay Moore is a proven leader in her community,” stated Mary Helmer, Main Street Alabama President, “but what people may not know is that she serves as a mentor to many communities interested in downtown revitalization. Our friend, Kay Moore, is a gifted Main Street professional and a sincere promoter of all that is good in Alabama.”
Mary Wood, Downtown Gadsden, Inc. Marketing Manager has been selected as the 2018 Main Street Director representative on the Main Street Alabama Board of Directors. Next year she will travel to the quarterly meetings as the representative for all of the local Main Street organizations.
A working partnership with the City of Gadsden, Greater Gadsden Area Tourism, the Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts, the Gadsden Museum of Art, and Main Street Alabama along with others will allow DGI to continue to strengthen downtown businesses and help Downtown Gadsden boost tourism in Northeast Alabama in 2018!