In order to help improve downtown Cedartown, over 30 residents came together on behalf of the Cedartown Main Street Program to discuss their ideas at a town hall meeting at the Cedartown Depot on Sept. 22.
Paul Kreager of the University of Georgia Fanning Institute and Joel Cordle, Regional Downtown Representative from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, were on hand to conduct a strategy session for a successful downtown Cedartown. Many downtown business owners were on hand, as well as members of the Downtown Cedartown Association and the Cedartown and Polk County Commissions.
According to information provided by the speakers, this same approach has been implemented in over 1,800 cities and towns in 44 states across the nation.
Kreager stated that downtown Cedartown would need a niche of its own to survive against corporations such as Wal-Mart. He explained that downtown needed to celebrate the history of what Cedartown has been, is and can be.
Cordle spoke well of the architecture in downtown Cedartown and said that many shopping malls across America are trying to copy the look and atmosphere of Main Street towns.
One by one, each person in the room was given a chance to tell what he or she thought would make downtown Cedartown better. More parking, evening restaurants, repaired and clean sidewalks, a fountain, better lighting, a hotel and live entertainment at night were all mentioned, among many others. After each person in the room was given several opportunities to speak their mind, a vote was taken to settle on the best ideas that had been brought to the table.
Five major priorities were settled on by those in attendance. These were an evening restaurant, recruit more retail, encourage property owners to clean up businesses, replace the trees and include more parking.
According to Main Street Director Lindsay Woods, these ideas will begin being implemented into the plan of work for 2006.
However, Kreager said that revitalizing downtown Cedartown could be a long process, as it has taken downtown Rome 25 years to reach what it has now become.
Its not a fast process, he said. It takes time.