The Georgia Department of Community Affairs announced Monday that 19 new Georgia cities will become part of the Main Street startup program, which provides technical assistance to communities looking to improve their downtowns. These cities will work during 2014 to meet state and national criteria to become designated Main Street programs eligible for national accreditation by 2015.
Twenty-five cities across the state applied to the 2014-15 program, the largest single group of applicants in the history of the Georgia Main Street program. Collectively, they represent 284,503 citizens, $1.8 million in available local downtown program funding and 10 service delivery regions of the state.
“In line with national trends, Georgia has seen renewed interest in downtown revitalization. We’re committed to helping our communities become great places to live, work and play, and our Main Street Program is one of our best examples of our technical assistance to Georgia’s local governments,” said Gretchen Corbin, commissioner of GDCA, which houses the Main Street program.
Focusing on four core areas: design (what downtown looks like and how it functions); organization (the people and organizations that will do the work); economic restructuring (the types of businesses that will work in a particular downtown); and promotion (helping others understand how and why downtown is great), the Main Street program has assisted cities across Georgia since 1980.
The selected cities are: Albany, Cairo, Porterdale, Ashburn, Chamblee, Ringgold, Auburn, Grayson, Stockbridge, Avondale Estates, Hinesville, Swainsboro, Ball Ground, Holly Springs, Sylvester, Bowdon, Lawrenceville, Braselton and Perry.
These communities will work to join 96 other cities across Georgia in the Main Street program. GDCA will provide substantial technical assistance to these communities, including help with board and leadership development, the creation of two- and five-year work plans, development of program budgets and preparation of each to meet the 10 standards set forth by the National Main Street Center, which is a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
“It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Georgia Main Street Program,” said Billy Peppers, director of the Office of Downtown Development. “Georgia was one of the first states in the country to be a part of the national Main Street program, and because of this, Georgia’s downtowns have seen more than $3 billion in impact since 1980, along with the creation of more than 58,000 net new jobs. Georgia’s downtowns are truly open for business.”
The Main Street Four-Point Approach® is a proven methodology that empowers communities to utilize their distinctive assets, such as their independent businesses and historic character, to revive their commercial districts, strengthen local economies and increase civic engagement. Since 1977, the Main Street Four-Point Approach® to downtown revitalization has been used by more than 2,000 communities nationwide to stimulate more than 235,000 building rehabilitation projects and create 475,000 jobs.
The Georgia Department of Community Affairs partners with communities to help create a climate of success for Georgia’s families and businesses. GDCA does this through its three core functions: community and economic development; local government assistance; and safe and affordable housing. Community and economic development programs include a variety of resources and incentives designed to help communities spur private sector job creation and to help them meet their development goals. Local government assistance programs include planning, research, rural development, downtown development, volunteerism, building codes and solid waste reduction.
Housing programs include special financing for first-time homebuyers, development resources and rental assistance to benefit low and moderate income Georgia families and seniors, and homelessness prevention. For more information, visit the GDCA website at www.dca.ga.gov.