Georgia Downtown Association

Georgia Downtown Association


Downtown Development Authorities Recognized at GDA Annual Conference

April 6, 2016
Dublin Main Street won the Downtown Economic Development of the Year for the rehabilitation of the First National Bank Building.
More than 150 downtown development professionals attended the March Georgia Downtown Conference in Athens.  Peter Kagayama was the opening keynote speaker and delivered comments to a packed house.  His presentation was titled “For the Love of Cities, Loving Where you Live” and contained great ideas that cities of any size could try as a way to create involvement and excitement in their own cities.  Other keynote addresses include Bourke Reeve with SouthFace who spoke on Sustainability and Preservation and Pratt Cassity with the UGA Center for Design and Preservation who spoke on issues of retaining retail diversity in the downtown area.   In addition, there were multiple concurrent sessions and mobile workshops on a large variety of topics.

On Wednesday evening, during the Awards Ceremony at the Historic Morton Theatre, several individuals and downtown development authorities were recognized.
  • Level One Certifications were presented to:  Sadie Krawczyk, Monroe; Beth Laughinghouse, Jefferson and Regina Mansfield, Gainesville.
  • Level Two Certification was awarded to Amanda Glover, Bainbridge.

Downtown Excellence Awards were presented in the following seven categories:
  • The Downtown Development Board Member of the Year was awarded to Chris Blackmon of the Athens Downtown Development Authority
  • The Downtown Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Steve and Susan Brown for their work with the Monroe Downtown Development Authority to open a Monroe History Museum.
  • The Downtown Small Business of the Year was awarded to All Things Currahee in Toccoa, a downtown shop that sales items produced by local artisans.  This project was a partnership between the Toccoa DDA and  building owners Rick and Letha Phillips.
  • The Downtown Promotion of the Year was presented to the Monroe Downtown Development Authority for their Community Events Grant Program, where they help subsidize events held by local organizations in the downtown area.
  • The Downtown Organization of the Year was presented to Clarksville Main Street  for their Clarkesville Master Plan which was developed after a fire in 2014 gutted the downtown area.
  •  The Downtown Design of the Year was awarded to the Tifton Downtown Development Authority and Harper Enterprises for the renovation and repurposing of the Union Depot into a vibrant downtown apartment complex.
  • The Downtown Economic Development of the Year was awarded to Dublin Main Street for the rehabilitation into the First  National Bank Building, or Dublin Skyscraper, into a downtown campus for the Georgia Military College.  Partners in the project included Jim Walter, Developer; Georgia Military College and Garbutt Construction.

The closing session was an interactive session designed by the TEDxUGA program, using TED talk videos followed by table discussions and activities facilitated by UGA students.