DEMOREST — The Demorest Downtown Development Authority is continuing to define its mission statement and revise its plans for the future.
At its meeting Monday afternoon, DDA members developed a draft mission statement they will review individually and then vote on at their next meeting.
The working draft of that mission statement is as follows: “The DDA mission is to encourage redevelopment activities, to provide assistance to private, public and existing business partners, with the purpose of improving the downtown area, and maintaining the historic character of the district.”
Also during Monday afternoon’s meeting, the DDA heard from Demorest City Manager Kristi Shead about utilizing existing city-owned property to increase downtown parking from 10 to 20 spaces.
The concept, which Shead said could be completed without the purchase of additional property, would be an important short-term step to make the downtown area more desirable for potential businesses that could locate there.
“It’s something we can do without having to worry about acquisition of property,” Shead told DDA members. “It just seems like an easy option to double our existing parking.”
Shead and DDA members said Piedmont College owns two downtown buildings that eventually could be used commercially.
“We need more [parking] spaces as it is now,” Shead said. “But it definitely would encourage some downtown growth if Piedmont did decide to lease out the two buildings that they currently own on the corner [of Georgia Street and Central Avenue].”
DDA Chair Dr. Stephanie Almagno agreed that improved parking opportunities are essential.
“We have to address parking,” Almagno said.
Shead said she will have street and other measurements for the DDA by the next meeting to help the group chart a possible course of action for downtown.