DDRA focusing events around capturing the organic atmosphere downtown

Executive Director, Jamie Bienvenu, said they are tiptoeing back into the event arena.
Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 6:00 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - COVID-19 put a halt to events downtown and had a negative turn on small businesses not just here in Dothan, but around the country.

The Dothan Downtown Redevelopment Authority (DDRA) has made it their mission to focus on business retention and recruitment.

“COVID I think changed everybody,” Jamie Bienvenu, Executive Director for the DDRA, said.

Just like many organizations, when COVID-19 hit the DDRA had to shift and re-structure.

“We did have a very large amount of momentum going into the last year and COVID kind of just put a damper on a lot of that,” Bienvenu said.

As events began to get cancelled due to the virus spreading, Bienvenu said the organization had to go back to implementing their mission.

“Building acquisition and revitalization, you know business retainment, that was very important during the COVID times you know a lot of these small businesses were struggling,” Bienvenu said.

On Wednesday afternoon Bienvenu made a presentation at the Kiwanis Club of Dothan sharing that mission. Also, discussing what people can look forward too once again as they are tiptoeing back into the event arena. This time by enhancing the shops that are already downtown.

“We’re just sort of stepping in and rounding that out with fuller experiences in the green spaces and the parks by adding live music and balloon installations and public art gatherings and pieces that are going on,” Bienvenu said.

Bienvenu said the DDRA is working for not only the community, but also for those passing through, making them want to come back.

“We are seeing the foot traffic increase and we’re really excited to see that Dothan is wrapping their arms around the merchants downtown and spending their money locally so we want and need these businesses to stay open,” Bienvenu said.

Bienvenu said instead of the large community gatherings, like Foster Fest, they are capturing the organic atmosphere downtown already has to offer.

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