Alex leaders: OCRA designation will aid revitalization efforts

Mar. 15—ALEXANDRIA — The city's recent recognition as an Indiana Main Street program not only brings validation to efforts to beautify its downtown, it opens new funding channels.

"It's very important to us because of the resources we gain," said Amy McCurry, a member of the Alexandria City Council who serves on the board of Alexandria Main Street, a nonprofit group dedicated to revitalizing the area.

"Not only the credibility, but we now have resources at our fingertips."

Alexandria Main Street's designation as a member of the Downtown Affiliate Network (ODAN) of the state's Office of Community and Rural Affairs means that McCurry, other board members and volunteers will have access to small business training webinars, idea exchanges with other communities and training on code enforcement proposals.

"They will help guide us in those types of things — what kinds of ordinances do we need in our community — things like that," McCurry said. "The tools at our disposal are amazing."

The Indiana Main Street program annually accepts applications for its three tiers, which provide technical assistance and educational opportunities to community groups to develop action plans for transforming downtown areas.

"Indiana Main Street communities are one of the greatest quality-of-life assets we have across the state," said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. "I am thrilled that these communities are taking the extra step to highlight what makes their downtowns unique."

Alexandria Main Street was formed about four years ago, according to McCurry, who owns an apparel store and two other buildings in the downtown area. The group was awarded a $5,000 grant last year from the Madison County Bicentennial Committee, which was matched with an award from the county's American Rescue Plan funds.

Follow Andy Knight on Twitter @Andrew_J_Knight, or call 765-640-4809.