Statewide program rewards those that succeed in downtown development
The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (GDCA) announced today that Greensboro along with Bainbridge, Rome, Toccoa and Valdosta, all Georgia Main Street cities, will progress to the Georgia’s Exceptional Main Street (GEMS) program. This pilot program for Georgia’s Main Street network provides advanced technical assistance to communities who have been proven leaders in their field of downtown development.
“The selection of these cities for the GEMS program is a wonderful opportunity for them to build on their successes by taking a step to the next level of downtown development,” said Gretchen Corbin, Commissioner of GDCA, which houses the Main Street program. “Our record of instituting innovation and best practices like this pilot program is a big reason Georgia has been a longtime leader in the national Main Street program.”
Fourteen of Georgia’s 96 Main Street communities applied to the 2014 GEMS program. The five cities selected represent 114,778 citizens and five service delivery regions of the state.
These cities will work closely with the Georgia Department of Community Affair’s Office of Downtown Development over the next three years to develop innovative technical assistance in meeting specific community needs, making these communities more attractive for private investment and economic growth. They will focus on specific targeted projects to advance their programs in one of four core areas: organization, economic development, promotions and design.
“These pilot programs truly do represent the gems of the Georgia Main Street Network,” said Billy Peppers, Director of the Office of Downtown Development. “The selected communities have developed an approach to downtown development that not only focuses on the core points of the program, but encompasses the community as a whole. In these programs the local government, businesses, volunteers and citizens have all played a role in the downtown’s success. This is something that we hope can be modeled for all of our programs across the state.”
Greensboro began its downtown development efforts as a Better Hometown city in the late 1990’s. Since that time the city has worked to facilitate building rehabilitations and encourage investment in the city’s historic commercial center.
“I am proud of the work that Greensboro has completed through the Main Street program,” comments Greensboro Mayor Glenn Wright. “Our town benefits from downtown development projects such as Streetscape, the Bickers and Goodwin building rehabilitation and Festival Hall. I am looking forward to continued progress through the GEMS program.”
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 1980, 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 (GDCA) 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.
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