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Oct. 12 - Tybee Island Receives Recognition as a Georgia Exceptional Main Street Program

Category: Local Govts & Politics

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

October 12, 2017 - The City of Tybee Island was presented with a 2017 Exceptional Main Street award at this year's Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Fall Conference​ Awards Ceremony. The awards ceremony was held on Wednesday, Oct. 4. Tybee Island is one of eight Georgia Main Street communities that was selected this year to join other programs across the state as proven leaders that have a strong economic impact with an equally strong historic preservation ethic.

According to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, only 16 of the 94 cities that participate in the Main Street program stand out amongst the rest to be part of the Georgia Exceptional Main Street (GEMS) Program this year. These cities were carefully selected based on their community’s proven efforts to maintain a strong economic base through a healthy business climate, rehabilitation projects, and strong historic preservation ethic. In addition to Tybee Island, the other GEMS communities include Bainbridge, Brunswick, Columbus, Dahlonega, Greensboro, Madison, Milledgeville, Moultrie, Newnan, Rome, Statesboro, Thomasville, Tifton, Toccoa, and Valdosta. “These communities are united by common attributes that help make them the strongest commercial historic districts in the state – a strong commitment to historic preservation and planning, stable leadership and active municipal support,” said Jessica Reynolds, Director of the Office of Downtown Development at the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), which houses the Georgia Main Street program.

As one of the eight new GEMS cities, Tybee Island has access to special one-on-one technical services offered by the Office of Downtown Development, such as strategic planning sessions, board retreats and work plan development, along with scholarship opportunities and discounted rates for professional training and design services. The City of Tybee Island has been part of the Main Street program since 2010. In 2014 when city officials activated the Development Authority, the boundaries of the program expanded to within city limits and the name changed to the Development Authority / Main Street Program. The program serves as a central hub for businesses and local organizations and for property owners and officials to utilize financial and technical resources that are available. In 2016, the program’s community impact summary report shows that there was over $7 million of private/public investments, a total of nine net new businesses with 23 jobs created, and 59 public events held with approximately 35,000 in attendance and 1100 volunteer hours dedicated.

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