Valdosta is one of 16 designated Georgia Exceptional Main Street (GEMS) programs from a list of 94 Main Streets that participated in the highly competitive annual assessment process. Together, the 16 cities represent 473,200 Georgia citizens and eight service delivery regions in the state.
Valdosta was named as a GEMS by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) in 2014 and was one of the first five cities designated in the state. Since 2014, the list grew to eight cities statewide, and recently DCA announced eight new Georgia Main Street cities it added to the GEMS list.
These 16 cities will be designated later in the year by the National Main Street Center as Main Street America™ Premier communities, serving as leading examples of Main Street-style community transformations and demonstrating considerable economic return on investments.
“We are proud of this state recognition—and soon-to-be national recognition—that confirms the overwhelmingly positive impact that our Main Street program continues to have on our local historic downtown and our city as a whole,” said City Manager Larry Hanson. “From new businesses and job creation, to rehabilitation projects and downtown housing, working together with the Central Valdosta Development Authority (CVDA), our Valdosta Main Street has set themselves apart with a focus on economic development and as an example for other communities to follow.”
In addition to Valdosta, the GEMS cities are: Bainbridge, Brunswick, Columbus, Dahlonega, Greensboro, Madison, Milledgeville, Moultrie, Newnan, Rome, Statesboro, Thomasville, Tifton, Toccoa and Tybee Island.
Designated GEMS have demonstrated a strong and positive impact in their communities as measured by the monthly and annual assessment processes. These are programs or organizations that have a proven track record of success in planning, implementing, and measuring results that align with the Main Street Approach and have met a series of rigorous accreditation standards.
“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 DCA Office of Downtown Development which houses the Georgia Main Street program.
As GEMS communities, these Main Street programs gain 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 training and design services.
For more information, call Valdosta Main Street at 229-259-3577 or visit www.valdostacity.com/main-street.