What’s Up Downtown?

Whitt Van Tassell

Downtown development updates are in full swing. 

The Blue Mile

The Dream:

“If we could take the sweetheart circle entrance and extend it all the way downtown,” President Brooks Keel said. The Blue Mile will feature green space, more pedestrian space and storefronts that are more pedestrian friendly. “An easier way of getting from Georgia Southern to downtown.”

What has happened so far

1985- Georgia adopts Redevelopment Powers Law

June 17, 2014 – Statesboro voters pass the Redevelopment Powers Law

Dec 16th, 2014 by – The Statesboro City Council creates a Tax Allocation District (TAD) for The Blue Mile area.

What’s happening

Preliminary talks with The County and School Board on future property tax allocations.

What’s next

A study incorporating community and university input into design and aesthetics.

How long until it is done

As many as ten years for full beautification, at a gradual rate.

City Campus

The Dream:

A fully-equipped downtown campus site hosting occasional classes and special events where students have easy access to not only business start-up resources, but state-of-the-art product production facilities. In the long run, Downtown Statesboro Development Authority (DSDA) envisions a bustling idea space serviced by Georgia Southern University bus routes.

What’s happened

November, 2013- Secured $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), complemented by $800,000 committed by the City of Statesboro.

November, 2013- “Innovation incubator” opens in collaboration with the College of Business Administration, features high speed internet, low-cost office space and high-tech video conference room.

What’s happening

By the end of the month- Construction begins on FabLab, a low-cost fabrication hub featuring computers, two types of 3D printers, a CNC plasma cutter, mig welder and other rapid prototyping equipment focusing on product development from the ground up.

What’s next

Viracon Alley, a glass-covered outdoor space between the FabLab and Innovation Incubator equipped for event hosting. Features a lighting scheme to highlight GSU achievements on and off the field with a blue nighttime glow on eventful days.

How long until it’s done?

FabLab is projected to open in late fall 2015, followed closely by Viracon Alley.