The Downtown Alliance was formed in 2000 by a group of downtown business owners as a non-profit 501(c)(6) organization. During that time, downtown business owners operated in a very different downtown atmosphere. Businesses were not allowed to have merchandise, tables or chairs, or a sidewalk sign on the street. Businesses could not have signage on windows or their exterior that had letters larger than 8 inches. We had no say in how the municipal service district tax (MSD) money was spent, despite the fact that this revenue was drawn entirely from and additional property tax on downtown property owners. Out of this atmosphere, the DTA was formed for businesses to be able to speak with one voice rather than splintered chatter.
Over the years, the Downtown Alliance has racked up an impressive number of wins for Downtown. A few examples:
- Established downtown events and programming like Fourth Friday, Field of Honor, Glory Days, Maxwell Street Market, Loft Tours, Dickens Holiday (in partnership with the Arts Council), a Sunday shuttle, Zombie Walk, Holiday Carriage Rides, Halloween Trick or Treat and History Tours.
- Created the annual Field of Honor
- Advocated for traffic flow change around ASOM to allow two way traffic from the museum into downtown, instead of the one way to Bragg Blvd it was for several years.
- Advocated for, and often partnered with the City to implement, ordinance changes for less restrictive business signage, outdoor use permits for businesses, more effective public safety measures, and enhanced aesthetic features.
- Secured funding for, and partnered with the City to build, a downtown playground behind the Capitol Encore Academy
- Hosted regular resident and volunteer socials, published a downtown cookbook, printed & distributed three downtown Business Maps
- Facilitated scheduling of major work i.e., with PWC to minimize effect on businesses
- Created a “how to do business guide” compiling relevant information for anyone wanting to start a business downtown or rehab a building.
From 2015 – 2017, the major work of the DTA included partnering with the Arts Council to create an “Art and Entertainment” District, managed by what is now the Cool Spring Downtown District, a 501(c)(3) organization. We’re pleased to work in partnership with CSDD to build a stronger, better Downtown.