South Main St. revitalization update

Macy Holloway

After 69 percent of the community voted in favor of the Redevelopment Powers Law, Statesboro could be looking at the outline for a new and improved South Main Street soon.

Community involvement and advocacy have been overwhelming with the Chamber of Commerce, Habitat for Humanity and South Main Revitalization Team in addition to various other community organizations who showed their support of the referendum.

Allen Muldrew, executive director of the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority, explained that, since the law has officially been passed, there are a few necessary steps that they will take next. They need to find a team to assist in the project as well as identify the initial areas in need of improvement.

“Right now we have significant momentum in our Main Street initiative, The Blue Mile. It is at the top of our list, so according to the property lines we must figure out what the specific areas will be and which has the best chance for redevelopment,” Muldrew said. “By designating that area, we hope to generate some funds to help improve it and make it an active corridor for people coming into town as well as providing students with more activities to do in town.”

They will pull all of that information together and propose it before City Council so that they may approve it. Following the approval, they hope to get the county and school boards involved so everyone is pitching in to assist in the effort.

Once the areas are specified they may even look into some form of partnership with the university to increase student awareness and input in the individual projects they decide to go forward with. Community involvement and opinions are welcomed and encouraged as they begin to take on this project.

“We’re always looking for what students would like and to see if we can help facilitate that and bring more students downtown in the process,” Attorney Robert Mikell said.

They would like to have the primary areas drawn out by the end of this year, which they are hoping will be South Main, initially. After nailing down the specifics, they will decide how far off of South Main they would like to venture with these renovations.

Even though not directly related to the rebuilding effort, a brand new restaurant, Southern Palace, has opened up on South Main right beside the Convention Visitor’s Bureau’s brand new welcome center. Southern Palace is owned by a Georgia Southern professor and his wife. They are hoping that this ensuing “snowball effect” will continue on down the road.

“It was a vacant Shoney’s and a vacant Taco Bell, and after the Convention Visitors Bureau opened their welcome center and really made it look nice, I think that in turn made the property next to it more appealing and that’s just exactly how it happens,” Mikell said.

“The idea is that we want to create a downtown that works for everyone, students, community members and visitors.”