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Oct. 24, 2017
Tifton, Georgia
478-227-7126
tiftongrapevine.com
TIFTON AN 'EXCEPTIONAL
MAIN STREET' COMMUNITY
CITY'S AWARD ONE OF ONLY EIGHT THIS YEAR

The City of Tifton received a 2017 Exceptional Main Street award -- one of only eight this year -- at the Georgia Department of Community Affairs' (DCA) fall conference recently in Savannah.

Tifton now joins 15 other Main Street programs in the state that have been  designated  as proven leaders with a strong economic impact along with a strong historic preservation ethic. The eight  communities chosen  this  year join eight existing programs as proven leaders in downtown development, the DCA said.

Each of these 16 cities has been carefully selected because of the "overwhelmingly positive impact that the Main Street program has had on its local historic district. From new businesses and job creation, to rehabilitation projects and downtown housing, these communities have set themselves apart with their annual economic impact numbers and focus on historic preservation," according to the DCA

Of the 94 Main Street programs that participated in the highly competitive annual assessment process, the state said only 16 cities stand out amongst the rest to be designated as Georgia Exceptional Main Street (GEMS) communities.

"We attribute the remarkable growth and improved quality of downtown to successful public-private partnerships, courageous private-sector leadership, a commitment by small business owners, and the Downtown Development Authority of the City of Tifton to invest in our downtown's future through strategic projects intended to leverage private sector investments," said Lequrica Gaskins, Tifton's downtown director.

"We are so appreciative of both the city and county who have provided their continued support for the Main Street program since its inception. These partnerships have afforded Tifton an opportunity to formulate a methodology that works while yielding a healthy, vital and growing downtown that embraces sustainability, a great quality of life and future economic growth," she said.

In addition to Tifton, the other GEMS communities named this year are Brunswick, Columbus, Madison, Moultrie, Newnan, Statesboro and Tybee Island. Previous existing GEMS communities are Bainbridge, Dahlonega, Greensboro, Milledgeville, Rome, Thomasville, Toccoa and Valdosta.

"These communities are united by common attributes that help make them the strongest commercial historic districts in the state: A strong commitment to historic preservation and planning, stable leadership and active municipal support," said Jessica Reynolds, director of DCA's Office of Downtown Development, which houses the Georgia Main Street program.

As a GEMS community, Tifton gets access to special one-on-one technical services offered by the Office of Downtown Development, such as strategic planning sessions, board retreats and work-plan development, along with scholarship opportunities and discounted rates for training and design services.

City Councilman Frank Sayles Jr., who serves as vice chairman of Tifton's Downtown Development Authority, accepted the award on behalf of the city and its Main Street program.

WATCHDOG GROUP HONORS REP. HOUSTON
FOR HER CONSUMER WORK

At a recent event in Atlanta celebrating its 15th anniversary, the nonprofit  Georgia Watch organization presented its Consumer Champion Lifetime Achievement Award to state Rep. Penny Houston, R-Nashville, for her work to protect Georgia
HOUSTON
consumers.  

Houston, whose district includes part of Tift County, has served in the General Assembly since 1997, and has been a champion for "the little guy" and a "particularly good friend to consumers," Georgia Watch said.
During her tenure, Houston has helped defeat multiple attempts to reintroduce predatory lending practices in Georgia, including in the title pawn and debt settlement industries; supported Georgia Watch's efforts to protect Georgia Power Co. ratepayers from paying a "nuclear tariff;" called attention to EMC member recovery of refund checks; helped identify possibly unscrupulous tax preparers; and introduced a resolution honoring Georgia Watch's advisory board member Clark Howard, the organization said.

" Georgia Watch is proud to recognize Rep. Houston with our highest organizational honor for standing up for the interests of Georgia consumers and helping protect their legal rights," said Georgia Watch Executive Director Liz Coyle. "We owe her a debt of gratitude for the energy she put forth every day to make Georgia a model for consumer protection."

Founded in 2002, Georgia Watch is a statewide nonprofit organization working to protect and empower Georgia consumers on matters that affect their quality of life, particularly focused on those most affected by predatory business practices, the cost of utilities and healthcare and restricted access to the civil justice system.

 
TIFTAREA ACADEMY'S
NEW 100 POINTERS

Sixth-graders Gabby Vargas, Emily Alexis and Julie Funk are the newest members of Tiftarea Academy Middle School's 100 Point Club.

The trio earned more than 100 Accelerated Reader points in just the first nine weeks of school.

They received a T-shirt and special prize pack from Middle School literature teacher Haley Crosson.



CHAMBER OFFICIALS VISIT ROTARIANS

At a recent meeting of the Rotary Club of Tifton, Tyron Spearman, who is this year's chairman of the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce, along with Chris Beckham, Chamber vice president, spoke to Rotarians about the continuation of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) on the November ballot and about local business initiatives.

In the photo, from left, are Spearman; Darian Peavy, who introduced the Rotary program; Rotary President Shaundra Clark; and Beckham

'Tis the Season
for some
'South Georgia
Snow'

The University of Georgia Tifton Campus  hosted Ag and Environmental Awareness Day this week. 

Students from both  Tift and Cook counties learned about topics relating to 
agriculture and the environment

Pictured is Tift County fourth-grader Lily Robinson waling through some "South Georgia snow" in a local cotton field.
 
BLUE STAR MEMORIAL DEDICATION

The Magnolia Garden Club of Tifton and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College recently sponsored a Blue Star Memorial marker dedication ceremony in the Baldwin Gardens on the ABAC campus. 

The Blue Star Memorial  serves as "A tribute to the Armed Forces who have defended the United States of America." The ceremony was another segment in the ABAC Veterans Initiative .


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Lot in Tift County, 0.82 acres, zoned for mobile home. City water and sewage ready for connection. The vacant lot has a water meter, and electricity is available.
                       
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 Dwana Coleman
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Editor & Publisher


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