May 19, 2022 | News

Tallapoosa Council Updates

Writer: Laura Camper

Published May 19, 2022
The Gateway-Beacon

Tallapoosa applying for Rural Designated Zone program

Tallapoosa Council members on Monday gave the go-ahead for city staff to start the process of becoming a Rural Designated Zone.

At a work session on May 5, the councilmen heard from Elyse Davis, Community Development manager with Georgia Power, the importance of the city pursuing that designation.

The program is managed by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. It offers economic development incentives to encourage development including job tax credits, investment credits and rehabilitation credits. There are currently nearly 45 cities with that designation, including nearby Villa Rica.

"It's an application process," said Tallapoosa City Planner Patrick Clarey. "Two of the key things is they require a market analysis of your downtown — essentially what you're leaking or what purchases are being made by the people in town — and you need a downtown master plan. Both of those are going to cost money."

But he added that those things would also help the city in its revitalization efforts.

City Manager Philip Eidson also said the city would like to apply for the Rural Downtown Development Grant as part of the process. The maximum grant is $1 million and it would have to be ready to go by June, he said.

The grant would require a 10% match, he said. But it would allow the city to finish some of the streetscape, sidewalk work and drainage work it has started, along with additional work, Eidson said.

"Maybe some lighting downtown, overhead lighting, some decorative lighting for the buildings," he said. "Possibly a welcome center with restrooms in it."

The city had about $420,000 for the streetscape project that it's finishing now, but when the bids came in the cost was nearly three times that, Eidson said.

"We'd like to go back and finish it up," he said.

The goal is to make the downtown more walkable and inviting, Eidson said.

The Council will meet again on May 23 at 5:30 p.m. with Downtown Development Authority members and others about moving forward in the program.

The next day, Mayor Brett Jones, Clarey and Eidson will be attending a workshop about the program in Calhoun, Eidson said. He invited any of the councilmen who would like to attend to let him know so he could register them.

"I think it's a good program; we need to participate in that," said Mayor Jones. "It will benefit us tremendously."

In other business council members:

approved amending plats owned by two different people to allow the sale of portions of the property. One plat is owned by Karen Steed. The second plat is in the estate of Joseph Johnson and is on Freeman and Boulevard streets.

approved reserving two additional rooms for the Georgia Municipal Association Convention in June.

heard that Councilman Raymond Ballew had completed one level of training at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

heard from resident Darlene Roberts, owner of the Feed and Seed in town that although the alley behind her store is marked no parking, vehicles parked there were impeding trucks from dropping off merchandise and customers from picking up their orders.

heard that the city had sent out 32 letters about code violations. Some of the problems had already been resolved, Eidson said.

recognized employees who reached an anniversary in their service to the city including Eidson who has worked at the city for 49 years, police Chief Scott Worthy who has worked for the city for 34 years.