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Commercial Area Revitalization Effort (C.A.R.E.) Program

 

The City of Lithonia is implementing the Commercial Area Revitalization Effort (CARE) Program. This program is designed to address several pressing needs that face the downtown commercial district and surrounding communities of the City of Lithonia. We want to be able to provide access to the kinds of resources our local businesses need to flourish in today’s economy and help them to become better suited to service our community.

 

The CARE Program will encompass:

Business Incubator Center

In the Lithonia Plaza the City owns several thousand feet of office and commercial space where a business incubator center will be constructed. Business incubation is a dynamic process of business enterprise development. Incubators nurture young firms, helping them to survive and grow during the start up period when they are most vulnerable. Incubators provide hands on management assistance, access to financing and orchestrated exposure to critical business or technical support.

 

Technical Assistance

As part of the Business Incubator program C.A.R.E. will provide business technical assistance. Many times new small business operations require access to information, resources, programs and other resources that are otherwise unavailable. C.A.R.E. will be able to bridge the gaps and help make the connection or provide the assistance required.

 

Marketing and Promotion of Economic Development Services

Of particular importance to the overall success of the revitalization effort is the marketing and promotion of the economic development services available to new and existing businesses. Outreach efforts will be used to market the available forms of assistance. This will be accomplished in several ways. Using C.A.R.E. as the vehicle, we would be able to utilize Cable TV, the Internet, special events to reach out to potential new businesses.

 

Workshops and Training.

As part of the activities the CARE program will sponsor workshops and seminars designed to empower new and existing businesses to become more successful. When our businesses improve the community benefits. Topics for workshops may include: Business Plan Development, Marking Your Small Business, Micro loan Programs, SBA 504 Loan Program, How to write a Loan Proposal, Choosing your business structure.

 

Business Retention and Attraction Initiatives

The CARE Program is also designed to help advance the plan for revitalization of downtown while stabilizing and improving building occupancies. A business retention and attraction program demonstrates a commitment by the City to meet the needs of its business community. The majority of new jobs created in most communities come from the expansion of existing successful businesses. An economic development effort that does not include existing companies may fall short of desired goals.

 

Façade Improvement and Urban Preservation (FIXUP) Project

The City of Lithonia will be implementing a Façade Improvement and Urban Preservation (FIXUP) Project. The purpose of the program is to provide an incentive to improve the physical appearance of the commercial properties located within the Downtown Commercial District. The FIXUP Project is designed to enhance and restore the physical appearance of shops and stores thereby attracting new business and economic activity.

 Generally, each building will be evaluated in terms of the required work to bring it up to established design standards. A project architect will be contracted to prepare Design Guidelines for the entire project and work specifications for each building. A budget allocation can then be made for each participating building based on the work to be completed. Funds for the improvements will be applied only to labor and materials. Building size and street frontage will also determine how much each building will need for Façade improvements.

 The overall intent is to preserve as much of the original architecture as possible capitalizing on existing assets while promoting the individual character of each building. All design work will be provided free of charge to participants.

 The scope of work will be limited to exterior façade improvements and may include new signage, doors windows, awnings, lighting, wall repair, painting, stucco and other façade improvements. The rehabilitation work will have no adverse effect on the historic characteristics of the structure or the downtown district.

 Lithonia Intermodal Transportation Enhancement Project

 The Lirhonia Intermodal Transportation Enhancement Project (LITE) has been awarded $496,000 to address several areas including pedestrian safety, streetscape improvements, historic preservation, landscape improvements and signage. These enhancements will deal directly with the train traffic, bus facilities, car traffic, pedestrian circulation and bicycle path development. These services will include architectural design, construction, planning and engineering.

 As part of the National Heritage Area there will be a hiking trail and bike trail starting from the Lithonia Women’s Club and going to Davidson Arabia Mountain. We will be able to provide and enhance our existing facilities to accommodate this project.

 A major component of the LITE project is the streetscape enhancements along Main Street and at gateways. In these areas we want to mitigate the appearance of the downtown by making asthetic improvements to the area. The nature of the project is to create a more pleasing enciroment to live, work, shop and do business.

 
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Last modified: November 12, 2001