Small downtowns across America are searching for ways to thrive and survive, and in Adel, Georgia, the main street revitalization movement is definitely in the “thriving mode.”
Today’s guest is Brandie Dame, Downtown Adel Main Street Director, who started as the city’s first full-time downtown development director in June 2018. Her primary goal was to guide Adel’s efforts to receive Classic Main Street status.
The intense three-year process included more than 30 hours of training, establishing a downtown board of directors, hosting a community visual session and work plan, and submitting monthly activity reports.
In April 2021, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs Office of Downtown Development announced that the City of Adel was awarded the designation as an Accredited Main Street America community.
While the process has been educational, it has also created a wave of revitalization. In 2018, approximately 28 percent of Adel’s downtown buildings were vacant, many needing extensive renovations. The number has dropped to 6 percent.
Dame says the surge in real estate activity is due primarily to Downtown Adel’s designation as a Georgia Rural Zone, which provides tax credits for economic growth. Administered under the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the rural tax zones enable businesses and investors to obtain tax credits for up to five years. The tax credits are available for job creation and investments (renovations) to downtown properties.
Downtown Adel also created events like Food Truck Friday, which takes place monthly from March through December. With about 10-12 food trucks each month, Dame says the event draws upward to a thousand people.
Dame says future goals include recruiting a family-style restaurant, improving building facades, and attracting more visitors to the community. Dame says Adel and Cook County are centrally located to several popular tourist attractions, including Reed Bingham State Park, Horse Creek Winery, and South Georgia Motorsports Park.
Join us next time as we continue to promote South Georgia as a great place to live, work, play, and visit.
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South Georgia Insider is produced by Spencer Van Horn, Smalltown Broadcasting.