Jasper Main Street flourishes in 2017

Officials: A promising year ahead for downtown district

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 1/17/18

Jasper Main Street (JMS) had a successful year in 2017, and the new year is promising new businesses and a fresh look to the downtown district.

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Jasper Main Street flourishes in 2017

Officials: A promising year ahead for downtown district

Posted

Jasper Main Street (JMS) had a successful year in 2017, and the new year is promising new businesses and a fresh look to the downtown district.

A new case of support organized by Jasper Main Street details the significance of the economic impact felt downtown since the inception of JMS on June 1, 2015. According to the report, over $1 million has been invested in building rehab and construction and nearly $4 million in real estate sales. Just over $126,000 has been awarded in grants and 17 businesses have been expanded, relocated or held grand openings in downtown. Seventy-eight jobs have also been created and one loft apartment is now occupied, with others available for renovation.

Thirteen business opened their doors for the first time or relocated to downtown Jasper in 2017, including Twisted Barley Brewing Company, Johnny Brusco’s New York Style Pizza, Shmic & Boo’s Boo’tiful Treasures, The Sugar Shack, The Sly Fox, The Massage Den, Gracie’s BBQ, the State Farm Insurance branch of Gina Scruggs, Jasper Northwest RealtySouth, Joseph Carter Realty, Gibson Girl Boutique, Sycamore Grove and Tallulah Brewing Company.

Many events were held in the downtown district last year as well. Jasper Eats served to showcase dining options downtown; the Tallulah 1-mile fun run, 5K and half marathon brought hundreds of runners to Jasper; and a number of other community gatherings brought people to the streets of downtown.

JMS held a successful banner campaign to place banners of area veterans downtown, and for every banner purchased, an American flag was also placed along Highway 78 in Jasper. The Daily Mountain Eagle reported at the time that Scott Crump Toyota, Jasper Main Street, Remax Elite and Honda & Hyundai of Jasper provided monetary support for the banner/flag collaboration.

The year ended with the district’s streetscape commencing, which will add 56 trees to downtown and include a remodel of sidewalks.

Jasper Main Street, the City of Jasper and Friends of Downtown Jasper have collaborated on the project, made possible by grants from Cawaco RC&D, Alabama Power and individual donors.

The streetscape will continue over the next few months.

Members of the Jasper Main Street Board of Directors attended the Main Street Alabama awards banquet in August 2017, and brought home many awards for their work in Jasper.

The remodel of Lavish Boutique and Lavish Coffee Bar was awarded Excellence in Architectural Design, and the Excellence in Business Development award was presented to Jasper’s Pinnacle Bank for their Restoring Downtown Jasper campaign. Staycation in Downtown Jasper, Walker County Lake and the Bankhead House & Heritage Center won for Excellence in Downtown Marketing, The Walker Area Community Foundation was the winner of Excellence in Private and Public Partnerships and Abbie Drummond was presented the Alabama Community Award for her lead gift for phase one of downtown Jasper’s streetscape plan.

Jasper Main Street Executive Director Mike Putman served on the Main Street Alabama Board of Directors in 2017, and Walker Area Community Foundation President Paul Kennedy will serve on the board this year. Kennedy is a board member with JMS.

Putman said area leaders also made certain in 2017 that the Jasper Main Street mission will live on for years to come.

“In 2017, with the help of generous donors, we established an endowed fund for Jasper Main Street with the Walker Area Community Foundation so that the work of Jasper Main Street will go on infinitely,” Putman said. “So when I’m gone, these board members are gone, there’s a fund at the community foundation that will continue to fund the renaissance of downtown Jasper.”

In 2018, Jasper Main Street hopes to begin a wayfinding signage project, design a downtown map and brochure, and create a gateway sign through a partnership with the Kiwanis Club of Jasper. Putman said they also want to help Bevill State Community College’s new entrepreneur program thrive, which could benefit the economic climate downtown.

Rock N Roll Sushi is the first restaurant in 2018 to announce its intention to open in downtown Jasper at 323 19th Street West this March, and Shades Valley Dermatology will open next month at 1600 5th Avenue South.

“Economic vitality is what we need downtown,” Putman said, also recognizing the importance of aesthetic improvements, such as the streetscape. “All those things lead to commerce.”

He added, “Downtown revitalization is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. There’s not a beginning and an end. There’s only a beginning.”