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Atlanta Hosts Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference

From March 30-April 2, National Main Streets Conference attendees will study economic development successes, opportunities in Atlanta and statewide

Washington (March 26, 2015) — The 30th National Main Streets Conference is coming to Atlanta Monday through Wednesday, attracting approximately 1,400 city planners, community revitalization professionals, volunteers and elected officials. The conference brings together a diverse national network of groups dedicated to generating economic vitality, fostering a unique sense of place and engaging key stakeholders in planning the future of their historic downtowns. Since 1980, the National Main Street Center has guided this work in more than 2,000 communities nationwide to produce $61.7 billion in investment, stimulate more than 285,000 building rehabilitation projects and create nearly 530,000 jobs.

The 2015 National Main Streets Conference is co-hosted by Georgia Main Street through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

Through 15 mobile workshops, more than 85 education sessions, and peer networking opportunities, the conference provides a forum for best practices on igniting and sustaining the redevelopment of America’s historic downtowns and urban districts. Using Georgia as a living laboratory, the conference will examine how to strengthen downtowns of all sizes by supporting creative economies, attracting tech entrepreneurs, and developing small business.

“The Main Streets Conference offers attendees a first-hand look at the best of Georgia while inviting Georgians to engage with what is working nationwide”, says Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center. “Tours of Ansley Park and Cabbagetown, for example, will enable attendees to experience Georgia-based revitalization solutions. Sessions on partnering with universities to drive redevelopment in Macon and Newnan and using maker/co-working space to energize downtown Augusta highlight home-grown successes that will interest attendees and may surprise locals, too.”

“The Georgia Department of Community Affairs and Georgia Main Street Program are excited about the opportunity to co-host this national event in our capital city,” says Billy Peppers, Director, Office of Downtown Development & Georgia Main Streets. “Georgia was one of the first states in the nation to start a Main Street network and over 35 years it has been a successful formula for cities of all sizes to grow, encourage small business development, improve downtown design and instill a local historic preservation ethic. The 103 cities in the Georgia Main Street network assist in the creation of an average of 3,000 net new jobs for the state annually.”

Other conference highlights include:
  • Keynote address by Carol Colleta, vice president with the Knight Foundation, on how to maintain economic competitiveness though technology and civic innovation
  • The announcement of the prestigious 2015 Great American Main Street Award winners
  • Mobile workshops, including visits to Hapeville, Monroe and Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn district
  • Sessions on topics including putting crowdfunding to work and attracting and retaining millennials
  • Premiere of the documentary film, Urban Century which takes a look at how historic downtowns can help us cope with economic recession, climate change, and America’s obesity epidemic
  • New research on best practices for incentivizing historic preservation
  • A four-part introduction to the Main Street Approach® which will describe the building blocks of a successful downtown revitalization strategy.

On-site registration begins on Sunday, March 29, at the Omni at CNN Center from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The conference is open to members of the media, but they must check in at the registration desk to receive their credentials. The public may purchase tickets for tours pending availability.

For conference updates, follow @MainStreetsConf on Twitter. More information on the program is online at: www.mainstreet.org.

The National Main Street Center
Established in 1980 as a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Main Street Center works with a nationwide network of communities to encourage preservation-based economic revitalization that utilizes the Main Street Four-Point Approach.® The Center participated in the renewal of more than 2,000 older commercial districts during its 30-year history. Now a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Main Street Center provides information, offers technical assistance, holds conferences and workshops, and conducts research and advocacy on critical revitalization issues.

OneGeorgia Authority awards $1.3 million in grant funds

Brantley, Laurens and Murray counties to benefit

ATLANTA (March 18, 2015) — Gov. Nathan Deal and members of the OneGeorgia Authority Board met March 9 to approve and affirm $1.3 million in grants from OneGeorgia Authority’s portfolio of financing programs. These awards will assist economic development projects in rural Georgia aimed at creating jobs, stimulating private investment, supporting and retaining existing jobs, and enhancing regional competitiveness.

The OneGeorgia Authority was created in 2000 by the General Assembly, with administration provided through a partnership with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. This rural development funding authority is chaired by the governor, and includes as board members the lieutenant governor, the director of the Office of Planning & Budget, and the commissioners of the Department of Community Affairs, the Department of Economic Development and the Department of Revenue.

From the Authority’s inception to date, OneGeorgia has given 641 awards to fund projects in rural Georgia. These awards include over $215.8 million in Economic Development Growth and Expansion (EDGE) funds and over $114.6 million in Equity funding for rural development projects around the state.

An EDGE grant award of $300,000 was affirmed and contracts approved for the City of Dublin and Laurens County Development Authority to assist with construction in the location of a warehousing and manufacturing facility for Valmiera Glass USA Corp. Valmiera will create 150 jobs and invest $20 million within 60 months.

Valmiera Glass USA Corp. is a newly created division of Valmiera Glass Group, headquartered in Latvia. Valmiera Glass Group is one of Europe’s leading producers of glass fiber composites which are used in a wide variety of industrial applications, including aviation, architecture, automotive, construction, thermal and technical insulation markets.

The new facility in Dublin, a building of approximately 80,000 square feet on a 40-acre site in the I-16 Industrial Park, will be Valmiera Glass Group’s first headquarters and facility in the United States. This facility will be a warehouse facility, potentially expanding into a manufacturing facility, for glass fiber needled mats used for acoustic and thermal insulation in the automotive and petrochemical industries. The facility is currently under construction and expects to commence operations later this year. The OneGeorgia Authority Board also approved two Equity Fund grants during the March 9 meeting. These funds assist communities and regions in building the necessary infrastructure to support economic development.

Murray County received a $500,000 OneGeorgia Equity grant to assist with site preparation for the Murray County Inland Port Development, which is a proposed multi-modal, rural inland port. This intermodal rail terminal for international and domestic cargo will be planned, designed and constructed by the Georgia Ports Authority and serviced by CSX Railway on 42 acres provided by Murray County. The project involves construction of a port yard, administration building with parking, and tracks including a 2,000 ft. working track, a 1,200 ft. new lead track, a 6,785 side track and other facilities.

CSX has committed $5.4 million to the project with public investment of a total of $8.1 million; Murray County has committed $700,000 and the Georgia Ports Authority $7.4 million. The port has direct access to US Highway 411 and is located 22 miles from I-75 and will serve a five-state region: Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and North Carolina.

In addition to cargo owners such as Lowes, Volkswagen, Nissan, Mohawk, Shaw, Bridgestone Tire, Pirelli Tire and others expressing a desire for rail service in an effort to reduce transportation costs, this initiative would also reduce and redirect heavy truck traffic headed to the Port of Savannah on Atlanta and Georgia’s highways.

The City of Nahunta was awarded $500,000 in OneGeorgia Equity grant funds to construct an elevated water tank with at least 200,000 gallons of storage capacity within the Brantley County Industrial Park. The awards also assist the City in developing an existing well to augment supply to the new tank and to extend a 6” water line from the existing system on Highway 82 East in order to loop long, dead-end lines.

The proposed capacity building improvements will provide adequate water pressure and volume to support industrial growth in the remaining 45 acres of the industrial park as well as meet the needs of existing industries. Specifically, the proposed improvements would provide necessary fire flow needed for E-Pellets, LLC, a wood pellet production facility. The project is expected to retain 60 jobs in the industrial park and generate $200,000 in private investment from E-Pellets Group/Nahunta Pellets. The City of Nahunta has committed $215,000 to the total project cost of $915,000.

About the Georgia Department of Community Affairs:
The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) partners with communities to create a climate of success for Georgia’s families and businesses through community and economic development, local government assistance, and safe and affordable housing. Using state and federal resources, DCA helps communities spur private job creation, implement planning, develop downtowns, generate affordable housing solutions, and promote volunteerism. DCA also helps qualified low- and moderate- income Georgians buy homes, rent housing, and prevent foreclosure and homelessness. For more information, visit www.dca.ga.gov.

State of Georgia awarded $10.1 million in rental assistance for people with disabilities

Federal HUD program to help 350 Georgia households prevent unnecessary institutionalization and homelessness

ATLANTA (March 12, 2015) — The State of Georgia recently became one of 24 states, plus the District of Columbia, and the only state in the southeastern U.S. to be awarded millions of dollars to help prevent thousands of low-income citizens with disabilities from being unnecessarily institutionalized or possibly falling into homelessness.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced March 2 the awards topping $150 million in rental assistance to 25 state housing agencies across the country. The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), through its Georgia Housing and Finance Authority, will be able to assist 350 households in the state with permanent affordable rental housing and needed supportive services with the $10,174,407 award it received.

Nationwide, nearly 4,600 households occupied by extremely low-income persons with disabilities will be helped by the HUD awards. Many of these individuals hope to transition out of institutional settings and back into their communities.

Operated in partnership with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities and the Department of Community Health, Georgia’s program will assist individuals transitioning out of nursing homes under the Money Follows the Person Initiative and those withbehavioral health issues moving from chronic homelessness or out of the state’s mental health hospitals or correctional system.

“When added to the resources awarded in 2013, these funds will provide valuable affordable housing resources to approximately 480 households over the next five years,” said Carmen Chubb, deputy commissioner for housing at DCA.

According to a HUD press release, its support of state housing agencies is made possible through the Section 811 Project Rental Assistance (PRA) program which enables persons with disabilities who have extremely low incomes to live in integrated, affordable housing. State housing agencies and their state Medicaid and Health and Human Service partner agencies identify, refer, and support target populations of persons with disabilities who require community-based, long-term care services to live independently. This is one of several recent collaborative efforts between HUD and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

"Everyone needs a stable home to call their own, especially persons with disabilities who can live on their own yet are at risk of becoming homeless," said Secretary Julián Castro in the HUD release. "These grants will provide real opportunity by cutting health care costs for states while allowing folks to live as independently as possible."

The announcement on March 2 underpins the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 1999 Supreme Court ruling in Olmstead v. L.C., helping states and local governments to provide services in the most integrated settings appropriate to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities.

About the Georgia Department of Community Affairs:
The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) partners with communities to create a climate of success for Georgia’s families and businesses through community and economic development, local government assistance, and safe and affordable housing. Using state and federal resources, DCA helps communities spur private job creation, implement planning, develop downtowns, generate affordable housing solutions, and promote volunteerism. DCA also helps qualified low- and moderate- income Georgians buy homes, rent housing, and prevent foreclosure and homelessness. For more information, visit www.dca.ga.gov.

About the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD):
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and www.espanol.hud.gov.

Deal: 13 Georgia cities awarded for outstanding achievement

Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that 13 Georgia cities were recently awarded for outstanding achievement in urban design, economic development, organizational projects and downtown promotions at the annual Georgia Downtown Conference Awards of Excellence ceremony. The ceremony, held Aug. 21 in Decatur, was the culmination of a week-long conference for the state’s downtown developers.

“Our downtowns are the heart of our communities, and these award-winning cities set the standard for downtowns across the state and nation,” said Deal. “A vibrant, economically robust downtown is a sign of an actively engaged community committed to enhancing its economic competitiveness and its quality of life.”

The Georgia Downtown Conference promotes downtown and economic development through public awareness, governmental relations and education. Co-sponsored by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs’ Office of Downtown Development and the Georgia Downtown Association, the awards and the conference provide recognition for downtown and community development professionals, and an opportunity to showcase the best of Georgia’s unique downtowns each year.

“We know that great downtowns are huge economic assets to their communities,” said Georgia Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Gretchen Corbin. “These awards recognize the effort and dedication of many people – elected officials, staff, volunteers and citizens – and encourage other communities to explore ways to enhance their downtowns.”

More than 50 communities across Georgia garnered nominations this year, with 13 selected for gold, silver or bronze awards in each of the four categories. The city of Cartersville won the prestigious Downtown Development Program of the Year award for its significant work in all four categories.

“The number and quality of the awards for these outstanding projects reminds us that the hard work of each individual community, no matter how large or small, contributes to making Georgia a great state in which to live, work and play,” said Georgia Downtown Association President Tommy Lowmon.

A list of award winners is included below:

Gold – City of Dalton
Silver – City of Milledgeville
Bronze – Monroe Downtown Development Authority
Gold – Bainbridge Downtown Development Authority
Silver – Cornelia Downtown Development Authority
Bronze – City of Milledgeville Main Street/Downtown Development Authority
Economic Development
Gold – City of Newnan Main Street Program
Gold – Club E of College Park
Silver – Stone Mountain DDA and ART Station Contemporary Arts Center
Bronze – City of Nashville Main Street Program
Gold – Rome Downtown Development Authority and Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation Authority
Silver – City of Suwanee
Bronze – City of Newnan Main Street Program

About the Department of Community Affairs
The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (GDCA) partners with communities to help create a climate of success for Georgia’s families and businesses through community and economic development, local government assistance and safe and affordable housing. Using state and federal resources, GDCA helps communities spur private job creation, implement plans, develop downtowns, generate affordable housing solutions and promote volunteerism. GDCA helps low- and moderate- income Georgians with issues regarding home ownership, rental housing and homelessness prevention. For more information, visit the GDCA website at www.dca.ga.gov.

About the Georgia Downtown Association
The Georgia Downtown Association (GDA) is a non-profit association that promotes the economic redevelopment of Georgia's traditional downtowns. Through advocacy, education and marketing, GDA works to focus the public's attention on the value of downtown. GDA is an independent association that supports both public and private sector efforts targeted at enhancing Georgia's downtowns.

Deal announces $39.7 million in community development awards

Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that 82 Georgia communities will receive a total of $39.7 million in assistance to grow their local economies. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded the funding to Georgia’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which is administered by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA).
“Strong, vibrant communities help attract companies to the state,” Deal said. “The projects funded by this program will ensure successful economic development and enhance the quality of life for all Georgians. By leveraging this funding with private investment and local funds, these communities are able to maximize the opportunities offered by the CDBG program and keep Georgia the nation’s top state for business.”

Seventy-one Georgia communities will receive almost $35.8 million in Community Development Block Grants for infrastructure improvements, neighborhood revitalization and centers that will serve Georgia’s neediest citizens. In addition, $3.9 million in CDBG Employment Incentive Program (EIP) funding was recently awarded to 11 Georgia communities to invest in redevelopment and economic development projects that are creating 1,172 jobs and $316.6 million in private investment.

Georgia’s Community Development Block Grant program annually supports projects in the state’s small and rural communities that create jobs and assist low- and moderate-income citizens. Awards ranging from $181,414 to $800,000 will be used for specific projects such as water, sewer, drainage or street improvements, revitalization of targeted neighborhoods, construction of health facilities and youth centers and infrastructure that supports manufacturing and other business operations. Communities are required to complete their designated project within two years of the award.

“The annual Community Development Block Grant awards are one of DCA’s most well-known, competitive and far-reaching programs, touching cities and counties in every corner of the state,” said Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs Gretchen Corbin. “We appreciate the vision and hard work that went into each application and look forward to working with these communities as they lay the groundwork for future growth.”

A complete list of the 2014 CDBG awards can be found here. For more information regarding Georgia’s CDBG awards and annual conference, click here.

About the Georgia Department of Community Affairs
The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) partners with communities to create a climate of success for Georgia’s families and businesses through community and economic development, local government assistance and safe and affordable housing. Using state and federal resources, DCA helps communities spur private job creation, implement planning, develop downtowns, generate affordable housing solutions and promote volunteerism. DCA also helps qualified low- and moderate- income Georgians buy homes, rent housing and prevent foreclosure and homelessness. For more information, visit www.dca.ga.gov.

DCA’s SCCP team celebrates the agency’s awards. Front row: Haley Allison, LaQuanta Pressley, Kathryn Darville, Cathy Quay, Traci Turgeon, Brian Williamson, Gretchen Corbin. Back row: Brian Connor, Max Rietschier, John Ellis, Jamilla Byrd, Phil Smith

DCA Takes Top Honors in State Giving Drive

On June 18, the Georgia Department of Administrative Services (DOAS) recognized the outstanding achievements of the Department of Community Affairs and twenty other state agencies and members of the University System of Georgia at the annual State Charitable Contributions Program (SCCP) awards ceremony. In the last 17 years, the program has raised more than $43 million to help support local and nationwide charities. Last fall, more than $1.39 million was pledged across the state. SCCP was established in 1982 by the Georgia General Assembly and the awards recognize the significant achievements of participating agencies.

Headed by Haley Allison, the DCA SCCP team rallied the staff throughout the fall, with a series of raffles and giveaways and a “Taste of DCA” luncheon, with all proceeds going to the SCCP. In addition, the work of this dedicated team encouraged staff to increase their contribution by 100 percent over the 2012-2013 SCCP campaign.

“Huge congratulations are due to every one of our employees who contributed and a big thanks to our spirit committee for leading the agency down the path to success,” said Commissioner Corbin. “I’m not surprised at the heart of our DCA family, and I’m very glad that everyone else knows about it, too.”

Agency-wide, DCA had a whopping 77 percent rate of employee participation in the State Charitable Contribution Program for 2013-2014. These team efforts and our employees’ generosity resulted in DCA winning an unprecedented three awards for state agencies of 101-500 employees:

  • Governor’s Award for Largest Increase in Contributions Total
  • Governor’s Award for Highest Level of Employee Participation
  • Commissioner’s Award for the Highest Contribution per Employee

In addition, DOAS Commissioner Sid Johnson announced that Commissioner Gretchen Corbin will serve as the honorary chair for the statewide 2014-2015 campaign.

“I can’t wait to see what our generosity, here at DCA and statewide, will bring in the 2014 campaign. I look forward to the honor and challenge of chairing the SCCP campaign this year and to the opportunity to provide significant funds to so many of Georgia’s worthy causes,” said Commissioner Corbin.

The campaign will run from September 1-October 31, 2014 with the theme “Looking Forward, Giving Back.” Read more at http://team.georgia.gov/employees-serving-proudly/georgias-state-employees-donate-1-39-million-to-charity-in-fy14/

Carmen Chubb with SMITH award

Carmen Chubb, Deputy Commissioner for Housing, was awarded the prestigious SMITH's Lifetime Achievement Award in March.

The award is given each year at SMITH's Affordable Housing Finance Conference to honor the recipient's body of work. SMITH's Affordable Housing Finance Award was introduced in 2004 to provide recognition to an individual who has made a lasting impact on the affordable housing finance market.

Smith's Research and Gradings is a nationally-recognized research company, providing independent research and third-party analysis for institutional investors. SMITH's Conference series provide unique forums for investors and issuers to discuss matters of mutual interest. They include SMITH's Affordable Housing Finance Conference, State and Local Government Finance Conference, and Community-Based Healthcare Conference.

Billy Peppers at NMSA in Detroit

The Department of Community Affairs is proud to announce that, in 2015, Georgia Main Street will host the National Main Street Conference for the first time in the program's history.

From March 30 through April 2, we will highlight Georgia’s most urban cities, as well as our classic small towns with mobile workshops, concurrent sessions, and several special events to showcase our state and our host city.

We look forward to seeing you there!


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