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Property owners discuss downtown’s current, future impact
by Liz Marino
lmarino@neighbornewspapers.com
March 20, 2013 01:04 PM | 1214 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Katherine Frye<br>West Georgia Board of Realtors representative Cindy Pocali looks at plans for downtown development in Douglasville Thursday morning at the Downtown Development Authority property owners meeting.
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Downtown Douglasville property and business owners gathered Thursday at the Douglasville Conference Center Annex to learn about the economic, cultural and tourism impact a downtown has on a community.

Hosted by Main Street Douglasville, its director, Stephanie Aylworth, provided the property owners information on incentives that could benefit and enhance their downtown investment, such as a revolving loan fund and Georgia Green Communities fund, both from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and Georgia Cities Foundation.

Aylworth explained that the downtown revolving loan fund was developed for acquisition and renovation of property.

There is help for downtown property owners who would like to spruce up their property, said Aylworth.

Main Street Douglasville and the Georgia Trust offer assistance to property owners for their building facades, and the Downtown Development Authority offers an incentive for qualifying retail facade renovations through a matching competitive grant of up to $3,000.

The Main Street manager told the property owners, “We are looking to be a full-service tool box for our businesses.”

Main Street Douglasville is offering a new service to market available commercial property in the city, she said.

“We are looking for a sense of community that downtowns bring,” said Aylworth, in her fifth year as Main Street manager. “We want people to know how important downtown development revitalization is — just as much as industrial development.”

She added that the city is starting the process of producing 10-year comprehensive plans.

Downtown Douglasville has had a series of “facelifts” this year, including the opening of a new conference center, a 300-space parking deck, the Plaza East renovation and a lighting and banner project along city streets.

More downtown enhancements will include the renovations of O’Neal Plaza and the Douglasville Welcome Center, she said.

Douglasville architect Terry Miller is currently working on renovation plans for the plaza. He spoke about the effort.

“We are trying to establish in the downtown a sense of place – what sets it apart from everything else,” said Miller, a former city councilman.

“It is a sense of place that sets one community from another.”

Miller, whose firm is located downtown, told the group, “We want O’Neal Plaza to be the focus of activity, where people can come in and eat their lunch and people-watch — to make it a more practical, inviting gathering spot.”
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