ATLANTA - The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (GDCA) says 19 new Georgia cities - including Braselton and Auburn - will become part of the Main Street Start-up 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.
25 cities across the state applied to the 2014-2015 program, the largest single group of applicants in the history of the Georgia Main Street Program. Collectively, they represent 284,503 people, $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:
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."