Downtown advocate agencies look back and ahead

From the Herald

Main Street Statesboro and the Downtown Development Authority held their annual meeting last week in the ballroom of the Quality Inn in downtown Statesboro.
Executive Director Allen Muldrew, Board President Bob Mikell and others updated the community on the exciting year just wrapped up. Mikell said that, “19 new business have relocated or opened in downtown Statesboro in the past year, investing over $1.3 million in construction alone.”
When you drive through downtown every day you notice changes, renovations and new growth. But, when you pause and look at what has been accomplished in just the past 12 months, it really is staggering.
Downtown property and business owners have seen the ebb and flow of our downtown for decades. Every day, owners enter their businesses and work as hard as they can to not only survive but thrive. That leaves little room for planning for future growth of their businesses, let alone downtown as a whole.
Having a team in place like Main Street Statesboro and the DSDA that not only is looking out for our downtown’s best interest, but is focused on making the hard decisions and leading our growth in a constructive and productive way, is an investment that pays great dividends. This past year is one of those years that everything seemed to come together and you can really see the tangible progress from the efforts of Allen Muldrew, his staff and board.
From leading the efforts on the successful vote to create the tax allocation districts (TAD) to the “Blue Mile” committee that created financial incentives and a plan for redeveloping the “front door” of our community, things really seemed to fall in place. Add to all of this, being selected as one of the 50 communities across the country to advance to the first round of the America’s Best Community competition.
The America’s Best Community competition is a $10-million initiative to stimulate economic revitalization in small towns and cities. Through this, Statesboro has been awarded $50,000 to develop a comprehensive strategy to accelerate the revival of our local economy and improve quality of life. Frontier Communications, DISH Network, the Weather Channel and CoBank are the competition’s sponsors.
Statesboro, along with the other 49 quarterfinalist communities have six months to shape and refine their revitalization plans for the chance to win up to an additional $3 million to bring their ideas to life. The exposure has already begun. Allen Muldrew appeared in two live interviews on the Weather Channel last week from the courthouse square.
One of the most anticipated parts of the annual meeting is the “best brick” awards.
This year’s recipients included: The Heritage Award given to Esquire Beauty Salon; Humble Abodes won for Best New Business; Best Downtown Redevelopment went to Hollywood & Sons Barbershop; Best Downtown Supporter was awarded to the South Main (Blue Mile) Revitalization Team, represented by Darron Burnette, Keely Fennell and Bryan Davis; Most Improved Interior was given to Salon Chaveux and SPA; and the Statesboro Convention and Visitor’s Bureau received the Excellence in Downtown award.

Stacy George

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