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City of Vidalia will create Downtown Development Authority

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 3:27 PM EDT
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VIDALIA, Ga. (WTOC) - For the first time, the City of Vidalia will have a Downtown Development Authority.

City leaders say that this authority will have a direct impact on economic growth in the downtown area.

Mayor Doug Roper says growth and expansion is what the citizens say they want to see for the community. He says the DDA can be the solution.

“You look at communities that are vibrant and growing, they have an active and growing downtown and an active and aggressive and engaged DDA,” Mayor Roper said.

Mayor Roper says the opportunity to have a Downtown Development Authority is one they’ve been missing out on. This group, he says, can do things the city cannot.

“It opens us up for grant money that we don’t have access to without a DDA, borrowing power, lending power. So, all of those things are going to be new for us and exciting for us,” Mayor Roper said.

The DDA will also be able to buy properties that are available in the city. They’d have the choice to either resell and develop them or rent them out to others. Mayor Roper says this will increase foot traffic downtown and expand the business atmosphere.

“It really will give us an opportunity to have more of a direct impact on the future development and economic growth of our downtown area,” he said.

“We have great shopping here in historical downtown Vidalia and the more traffic means that we can purchase more so we can have more selections, so you wouldn’t need to leave hometown,” Mary’s M Squared Designs owner Mary Edmonds said.

Edmonds says since we are coming out of a pandemic, the DDA could help them have a successful rest of the year.

“With that walkability here and the foot traffic increased then I think we’ll be very hopeful that it’ll end a good quarter,” Edmonds said.

The board will be made up of seven people. Six members are non-elected officials, and one will be an elected official. They will be appointed on Monday.

Mayor Roper says they will get all of the necessary training and an idea of the city’s overall vision.

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