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Downtown development group consdiers non-profit status

Several projects to improve the look and feel of downtown Thomson made the list of discussion topics at the July 13 Downtown Development Authority meeting. From the work planned to remodel the streetscape to the future of the old Thomson Company building, City Administrator Bob Flanders gave updates on everything.

But one project may have the group pursuing non-profit status. Authority members voted unanimously to explore the option of becoming a non-profit organization because grant funding is easier to come by, and donations can be made tax free.

According to Mr. Flanders, the process should take four to six months once started. He said the idea has worked in other Georgia cities and that it could work in Thomson as well.

Also, the group learned more details about the $490,000 transportation grant that will change what downtown looks like. Authority members viewed drawings of a section of Main Street and discussed applying for more money to continue improvements to the area.

"It's not a question of whether we're going to ask for money. It's how much are we going to ask for," Mr. Flanders said of the Sept. 23 deadline for T-grant applications.

As a part of the current T-grant project, the group decided to explore the possibilities of closing a section of White Oak Street between Main Street and Church Street. Mr. Flanders said trucks often get lost, try to drive on the narrow section of roadway and are unable to make the turn in either direction.

The group also discussed the formation of an architectural review board that would approve or deny changes to downtown buildings. Downtown business owner Lee Anne Cowart brought the idea before the group, and stated that Aiken, S.C. had recently started a similar program.

Authority Chairman Kenneth Usry said that city and county officials could take up discussion on the matter during their upcoming joint retreat in August.



Web posted on Thursday, July 21, 2005











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