John Lewis, 2012

John Lewis
Cartersville property owner John Lewis has been selected as the recipient of the Georgia Cities Foundation’s “Renaissance Award.” Lewis, who has restored more than 30 offices and buildings in downtown Cartersville, accepted the award at the Georgia Municipal Association’s Annual Convention in Savannah on Sunday, June 24. 

The Renaissance Award recognizes an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to the revitalization of one or more of Georgia’s cities. Lewis, who was nominated by the city of Cartersville, has served as a catalytic preservationist for downtown Cartersville for the past decade. His redevelopment work in Cartersville has inspired other downtown property owners to do the same.
Over the last 10 years Lewis has revitalized more than 25 percent of the buildings in the downtown historic business district, an effort that is credited with the creation of more than 100 new downtown jobs. 

More than just a property owner and preservationist, Lewis has maintained a live, work, play vision of downtown that includes recruiting specific businesses needed in downtown, mentoring new business owners, working with the Etowah Valley Historical Society to recognize outstanding contributors to preservation efforts, assisting with a bi-annual tour of homes, and researching histories of each downtown property so he could place “year established” signage on each building. Lewis also provided research and funding to support the addition of the downtown area to the National Register of Historical Places. 

“John Lewis’ footprint can be seen all over downtown Cartersville,” said Georgia Cities Foundation President Mike Starr. “His hard work in the areas of historic preservation and downtown development has helped transform a once sleepy downtown Cartersville to a shopping, dining and cultural destination.”