The Union Recorder

April 2, 2013

State bus tour highlights community

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE —  

Downtown Milledgeville is one of the stops on the 2013 Georgia Cities Heart and Soul Bus Tour. The tour will make its way to town from 1 until 2:20 p.m. Wednesday.  

The public is invited to come out and welcome the visitors together with city officials, business leaders and the Milledgeville Mainstreet staff as they arrive downtown at Allen’s Market. 

“We’ve got things planned to make it exciting, and we want people to come out to welcome everyone,” Mainstreet director Carlee Schulte said.

The Georgia Municipal Association and the Georgia Cities Foundation sponsor the Heart and Soul Bus Tour with a goal to educate and inform state agency heads, business leaders, downtown developers and philanthropists on the importance of successful downtown development as well as revitalization.

This is the second time Milledgeville has been a tour stop, since the foundation began the tours in 2001. Schulte said it’s been 11 years since the tour came through.

“It’s been a long time coming, so that’s why I think it’s really important that we give a good impression of our community and make them see that there is opportunity here and we are growing,” Schulte said.

Each year, the Georgia Cities Foundation selects cities to participate based on their efforts to create vibrant and strong communities as well as successful examples of public and private rehabilitation with an emphasis on historic preservation. The 2013 bus tour also includes the downtown programs in the cities of Eatonton, Macon, Hawkinsville, Columbus, West Point, LaGrange, Newnan and Carrolton. 

Jane Sowell, executive director of the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the tour is all positive attention and that it’s important to have a charming downtown to showcase for visitors.

“It’s a great time for us to showcase everything that Milledgeville has to offer. (Schulte) put together a terrific tour, and I think we have a lot to show them,” Sowell said. “It can only help us really. It shows that we are mindful of what we have here and how we protect and want to preserve it.”

City and county officials and the Mainstreet staff will take the visitors on a tour highlighting different downtown development projects. Of the many amazing historic preservation projects that have taken place in downtown Milledgeville, The Baldwin Lofts and Aubri Lane’s will be the feature projects of this year’s tour in Milledgeville. 

The Baldwin Lofts rehabilitation was financed in part by the Georgia Cities Foundation and Department of Community Affairs, both of which are closely affiliated with the Georgia Municipal Association and will have representatives on the tour. 

Schulte said The Baldwin project is one of the main reasons Milledgeville was chosen as a tour stop. The loft apartments and retail spaces have become a centerpiece on Hancock Street, according to Sowell.

The city guests will stop by Digital Bridges to hear featured speakers representing the Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority and the Oconee River Greenway also.

Georgia College, Digital Bridges and the CVB helped plan the Wednesday event. Flaunting all the development efforts throughout the area could turn the tide with local projects.

“I’ve had a lot of people step up and realize how important this is and help to make it as memorable as we can for the tour participants,” the Mainstreet director said. “These are people that will be making choices as far as funding and different things about our community, so they need to know what all we have going on to revitalize.”

For more information contact Carlee Schulte at the Milledgeville Mainstreet office at (478) 414.4014 or cschulte@milledgevillega.us.

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