Downtown Developments: Georgia Downtown Association 2021 Award Presentations

November 1, 2021

AWARD #1 (CO-WINNER) Premier Partner, Monroe – Monroe Walton Center for the Arts

The MWCA provides an opportunity for all citizens of Monroe to experience the arts including their beautiful garden with painted sidewalks, sculptures and fountain. This important organization supports monthly art shows and provides local artisans a low-cost opportunity to market and sell merchandise.

AWARD #2 (CO-WINNER) Premier Partner, Toccoa – Amtrack Waiting Platform Revitalization Working with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Toccoa officials looked at tourism resources and developed a plan to attract “railfans” to downtown. This creative effort has transformed the Amtrak Waiting Platform through substantial funding and community investment.

AWARD #3 Main Street Hero, Rome – Ira & Libby Levy

Ira and Libby Levy’s presence as a dynamic duo have contributed immensely to Downtown Rome’s success. One of their many projects is a downtown boutique hotel, The Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham. This beautifully renovated 1890’s warehouse totaled over

$4,000,000 in investment, created 65 hotel rooms and includes original wood floors, brick walls and a large sky-lit atrium.

AWARD #4 Premier Special Event, Thomasville – Annual Rose Show & Festival

Thomasville is known for their annual Rose Show & Festival. This year’s 100th celebration featured a re-imagined historic parade experience, which adhered to social distancing guidelines. A new interactive experience replaced the traditional parade with larger-thanlife historic photo displays lining Broad Street dating back to the 1920s.

AWARD #5 Creative New Event, Braselton – Cravin’ Bacon Walk

The Braselton Downtown Development Authority wanted to attract more male shoppers, so a Bacon Walk was created. During this event, each participating business prepared a bacon inspired treat and walkers could upgrade to a VIP (Very Important Pig) ticket which included bourbon tastings. In addition to visiting all the stops, they received entrance into three private tasting rooms in local restaurants for special presentations.

AWARD #6 Outstanding Promotional Campaign, Canton – Downtown Canton Cash Mob

This promotional campaign was created to support small businesses in Downtown Canton through focused group spending. This included over 2,400 participants and presented the funds in “Publisher Clearing House” fashion. Each participants agreed to spend $20 at each Cash Mob business and once a participant has cash mobbed eight businesses, they enter a drawing for one of two prizes.

AWARD #7 Best Placemaking Project, Cornelia Fenders Alley/The Yard

This $500,000 project highlights the importance of placemaking through strong partnerships with local government, downtown business owners, and stakeholders. In a challenging time, this project helped preserve an iconic downtown business while transforming an underutilized parking area into a vibrant community destination. In creating a new community hub, this project also expanded sidewalks, created a new public greenspace, added on-street parking, and created a new revenue stream for the DDA.

AWARD #8 (CO-WINNER) Best Façade

Rehabilitation, Bainbridge Eagle Saloon Suites This project does an excellent job of referencing the history of this unique corner building to create a modern hub in downtown Bainbridge. The exceptional care taken in preserving historical details and restoring elements lost over the decades make this a project worthy of recognition. This formerly vacant building now includes downtown lodging, ground floor retail and more.

AWARD #9 (CO-WINNER) Best Façade

Rehabilitation, Monroe John’s Supermarket Renovation

This rehabilitation project deserves praise for transforming a car-centric development into a walkable downtown-scaled supermarket and the addition of apartments. This project extends the downtown form, encourages walkability between downtown and surrounding neighborhoods, and helps preserve and expand a vital local business.

AWARD #10 Best Public Improvement Project, Sugar Hill The Bowl at Sugar Hill

This huge public improvement project has clearly transformed Sugar Hill. With high-caliber programming, seasonal events, and exceptional public amenities, this development helps set a new standard for public improvement projects in Georgia. This multiuse space has created a true center of the community in downtown Sugar Hill.

AWARD #11 Best Adaptive Reuse,

LaGrange – Historic Creighton Davis Building

Built in 1875, the Davis Building is one of LaGrange’s oldest downtown buildings. After the north corner of the building collapsed in 2017 and multiple attempts to repair, the city made the difficult decision to allow the building to be demolished. That was until Leon Moody determined that the building could be saved. Today, it is back in use with the potential for loft living space on the second floor. The city also created a pocket park area next to the building, which includes outdoor dining and cell phone charging stations.

AWARD #12 Outstanding Community Transformation, Cornelia – COVID Community Transformation

Even with the pandemic, downtown Cornelia had an incredibly successful year as businesses were able to adapt and develop creative ways to remain open. In 2020, downtown saw a public/private investment over $38 million with nine public improvement projects and 23 new jobs and the momentum has continued in 2021. 

This article was originally featured in the September/October 2021 edition of Georgia’s Cities Magazine.

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