Downtowns in Georgia are the heart of our communities and are integral to the economic prosperity of our cities and state. The Georgia Downtown Renaissance Partnership was created to foster vibrant downtowns.
 

Background

In 2011, a Special Downtown Development Task Force, co-chaired by Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and Georgia Cities Foundation President Mike Starr, recommended the creation of a Downtown Capacity Building Partnership, which has been named the Georgia Downtown Renaissance Partnership. The Partnership, consisting of the Georgia Municipal Association, the Georgia Cities Foundation, and the University of Georgia, working in cooperation with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the Georgia Downtown Association, has been established to help cities and local leaders focus on the importance of downtown planning and visioning. The Partnership seeks to serve as the cornerstone in helping create locally developed plans that are supported by both elected officials and the business community. 
 
The Partnership provides access to the technical assistance for clear and concise strategic downtown visions and plans for local government leaders, downtown development authorities, chambers of commerce, downtown merchants, property owners, lending institutions, and citizens.  The Partnership seeks to ensure all downtowns and cities in Georgia have the tools needed to make their vision and their potential not just a dream, but a reality.
 

Programs

In 2013, the Georgia Downtown Renaissance Partnership developed the following programs to assist cities with downtown strategic visioning, planning, design and technical services:
 
  • Renaissance Strategic Visioning & Planning (RSVP) Program:  This program assists cities in creating an initial vision and short-term work program for their downtown areas. To date, downtown strategies have been completed for the cities of Bainbridge, Cairo, and Cedartown in 2013, Americus, Clarkesville, and Perry in 2014, Cordele, Gainesville, St. Marys, and Villa Rica in 2015, and Brunswick, Chickamauga, and Jefferson in 2016.  The cities of Ringgold, Jesup, and Stockbridge are RSVP participants in 2017.
 
  • Downtown Renaissance Fellows Program:  Through this program, an undergraduate landscape architecture student at UGA is assigned to work with a participating city during the summer months, providing technical and design services.  Participating cities include Gainesville, Milledgeville, and Porterdale in 2013, Fitzgerald, Hapeville, and Newnan in 2014, Chamblee, Statesboro, and Toccoa in 2015, and Chatsworth, Jesup, and Monroe in 2016. The cities of Lookout Mountain, Holly Springs, and Tyrone are participants in 2017.
 
  • Downtown Renaissance Planning & Design Practicum/Studio: During an academic semester, students within UGA’s College of Environment & Design are provided an opportunity to focus their skills and knowledge on a downtown project. Participating cities include College Park, Conyers, Griffin, Forsyth, Milton, and Washington in 2014, Commerce, Flowery Branch, Glennville, and Milledgeville in 2015, and Rossville in 2016.  The Design Studio will be offered again during the Fall Semester of 2017.
Contact Information
For additional information you may contact Perry Hiott with GCF at (678) 686-6207 or Danny Bivins with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at (706) 583-0856.