Richmond Hill City Council Establishes Downtown Development Authority

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

The Richmond Hill City Council last night passed a resolution to establish a Downtown Development Authority (DDA), appoint a seven-member Board of Directors, and designate a downtown development area as the central business district of the City.
“The purpose of the DDA is develop and promote the City’s central business district for public good and general trade and commerce,” said Mayor Harold Fowler. “Their work will create a climate favorable to the location of new businesses and also help foster better relationships with existing businesses.”
Georgia’s Downtown Development Authorities Law specifies there will be seven members of a community’s DDA who must either 1) reside in the City or 2) reside in the County and own or operate a business in the DDA area. Those appointed to staggered terms last night include:
●      Jan Bass, member of Richmond Hill City Council;
●      Brad Brookshire, market executive for Ameris Bank in Richmond Hill;
●      Georgene Brazer, City of Richmond Hill resident;
●      Dallas Daniel, owner of Plantation Lumber;
●      Paige Glazer, owner of Richmond Hill Reflections;
●      Catherine Grant, founding partner of Urgent Care Center of Richmond Hill; and
●      Eddie Warren, co-owner of Re/Max Accent.
Powers of the DDA may include, but aren’t limited to: acquiring by purchase or lease real property and personal property in furtherance of the DDA’s purpose; financing, refinancing, and managing projects and paying the cost of any project from the proceeds of revenue bonds or notes; issuing revenue bonds or notes and using the proceeds to pay for the cost of any project authorized under the DDA laws; and applying to federal, state, or local governments for loans, grants, or other financial assistance.
“We are pleased to announce the establishment of this Downtown Development Authority to not only grow the business base of our City, but to retain what keeps us unique,” said Russ Carpenter, City Council member and mayor pro tem. “The public-private partnerships that are unique to the powers of the DDA will provide an economic development tool that will poise Richmond Hill for the future.”
The downtown development area, as outlined by the resolution passed tonight, encompasses the main commercial corridors along U.S. 17 and State Route 144 as well as both interchanges at exits 87 and 90 off of I-95.