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Swainsboro's Main Street Market

While the project is not mentioned specifically by name in the community’s current 2007 comprehensive plan, the Main Street Market Project is exemplary implementation of the plan’s overall Community Vision, the downtown Swainsboro Character Area, and long term policies espoused in their 2007 comprehensive plan. Their vision from that 2007 plan states in part: Emanuel County will be a regional growth center and a leader in quality rural development with a vibrant economy… The development of this downtown market and the ancillary things that have developed around it is an obvious part of the realization of this vision. The Main Street Market received a Georgia Downtown Association 2011 Award for Economic Restructuring – Best Problem Solving. The project remains fully supported by the community and is prominently mentioned and displayed on community websites.

The reactivation of the Swainsboro Downtown Development Authority was a specific item in Swainsboro’s original STWP (2007-2011), and pursuit of Main Street designation and other downtown revitalization support were items in the latest STWP (2012-2017). The expansion of Arts Emanuel’s facilities and the development of new events/activities to attract visitors were specific items included in the original Swainsboro plan. It is receiving more prominent attention by name in the new community comprehensive plan being prepared in 2017.

The Downtown Development Authority office is located in Swainsboro City Hall. The DDA employs both a Downtown Director, and a Main Street Market Manager, who is located onsite in the Market. The community is prominently using the project in local economic and tourism marketing, including an I-16 billboard promoting antiques in Swainsboro and cross-marketing with local inns and restaurants.

The project has energized local arts and cultural efforts by the Emanuel Arts Council (EAC). It is a major reason the EAC and City of Swainsboro are proceeding, and enjoying widespread community support, with renovating the Historic Dixie Theater downtown as the Barbara and Tobe Karrh Community Arts Center. Main Street Market truly is quite the innovative success, and implementation of the Community Vision and DDA mission to enhance economic development, while showcasing and promoting the community and downtown’s cultural heritage.


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