Georgia’s Main Street and Better Hometown communities added 2,699 jobs in the most recently completed calendar year. The Office of Downtown Development at the Georgia Department of Community Affairs released the 2012 Composite Main Street Activity Report at the annual Main Street luncheon held on Monday, January 28 in Atlanta.
For 2012, the 96 cities in Georgia designated as a Main Street or Better Hometown community by the Department added 2,669 net new jobs within their downtown districts. These jobs were the result of 523 new business starts and 97 business relocations or expansions. Since DCA began collecting online activity reports from its designated communities in 2004, there have been 26,141 jobs added in those communities.
In addition to job growth, the Agency reported that these communities saw $126 million in private investment to rehabilitate 385 downtown buildings. There were 21 new building projects completed in those communities last year. Housing completions in the Main Street/Better Hometown communities increased by over 200 percent from 2011 with 127 units completed in 2012, up from 38 the previous year.
The reports also track business closings in downtown programs. For 2012, the designated communities reported 193 business closings, the lowest number of closings since 2005.
Mike Beatty, Commissioner for the Department of Community Affairs, sees the impact of small business investment in downtown communities across the state. “When you look at these results from these communities, you see that not only have they added as many net new jobs as a major industry location, they’ve also nurtured the creation of new businesses, the backbone of Georgia’s economy," stated Commissioner Beatty.The Main Street program was launched in Georgia in 1980. The Office of Downtown Development serves as the state coordinating partner of the National Main Street Center. Created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Main Street initiative blends historic preservation and downtown revitalization through a 4 Point Approach that involves organization, design, promotions and economic development. The Georgia Main Street program is offered for cities over 5,000 in population that meet standards assessed by the state. Communities with populations less than 5,000 can be designated under the program as a Better Hometown.