HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WZDX) - The revitalization of downtown Huntsville is well underway and the Downtown 47 and the Huntsville Arts Council are just two organizations that have been working hard on the effort to bring more people into the area.
"If we have a successful downtown we have a successful entire city," said Olly Orton, President of The Huntsville 47. "(We are) just a group of committed Huntsvillians who want to see downtown be that kind of active heart of our town."
The Huntsville Arts and Entertainment District launched this past weekend and people all over the city are raving about the success of the event, but Orton says that is not the only thing his group has to be happy about.
"We have got the amazing growth with Twickenham Square over there, " he said, "and tens of millions of dollars the city has put in with the sidewalk renewals, those kind of things."
A new parking garage, grocery store, and several other retail stores are slated to open in the Twickenham area and new lofts are also in the work near the Courthouse Square. To top off all the progress the group Downtown Huntsville Incorporated has hired a new CEO, Chad Emerson.
"Really looking forward to, for the first time ever, having someone who wakes up every morning and their first priority is developing downtown," said Orton, who also sits on the Huntsville Inc. board.
But the revitalization of Downtown Huntsville is not just about the businesses; others are focusing on exposing the people of Huntsville to the arts scene. Allison Dillon-Jauken is the CEO of the Arts Council, a group that is heavily invested in the downtown community.
"Every Thursday and Friday night downtown visitors will really find something different over the next 15 weeks," she said. "There will be demonstrating artists, we will have stained glass artists, the Green Street Press will be out, wood workers will about, and the North Alabama Flute Choir will be performing on the square."
And those are just a few of the events planned for the summer. She says the entertainment district is just one of the tools her group will be utilizing in an effort to bring the arts alive in the downtown area.
"Most everyone who is involved in the arts knows that through arts and entertainment you can really engage the public and enliven an area."
For more information about the summer events planned for Downtown Huntsville you can visit www.artshuntsvile.org