Downtown to recruit more businesses in revitalization process
AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -
It's the next step in revitalizing Downtown Augusta: getting
businesses, big and small, to set up shop.
"When there are more destinations downtown, more places to
shop, more places to see, more people will come down," said Margaret Woodard, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority.
Over the last five years the Downtown Development Authority has
increased the number of downtown housing units. In 2012 they completed 75 units
with a 99 percent occupancy rate. Now they're launching a retail recruitment
initiative; dishing out up to $60,000 to a retail consulting firm.
But the downtown district's crime rate could discourage
business owners from moving to the area.
Stan Brigan spent nearly $1,000 on this security gate, after
his shop was broken into several times. But it doesn't happen just after hours.
"We do have a lot of thefts going on during the day," Brigan said. "I had
one guy come in steal a knife. He was in and out in 13 seconds.
Brigan also arms his store with security cameras. But
despite the break-ins, he and other businesses owners downtown, and in the
Laney Walker area, say they think this is good location for businesses.
LaToya Wallace moved Wally's restaurant stand to Laney
Walker Boulevard two years ago. She says the city's revitalization plan is the
reason she relocated.
"Because of revitalization, it appears that things are quiet
and peaceful," Wallace said. "I love my customers, my customers love me so it's great here."
Wallace says the area has potential, which is exactly
what the Downtown Development Authority wants prospective businesses to see.
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3933 Washington Road
Augusta, GA 30907