Stone Mountain City Council has joint meeting with Downtown Development Authority

Main Street. Stone Mountain Village. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Stone Mountain, GA — The Stone Mountain City Council hosted a joint session with the Downtown Development Authority on Monday night, Nov. 8. The meeting was hosted virtually on Zoom.

The organizations approved two filming permits for the downtown Stone Mountain area: 20th Television to use 5379 E. Mountain Street for filming of “The Wonder Years” on Nov. 18, and Bone Appetite Productions Television to use 5379 E. Mountain St for filming “Strays” on Nov. 10.

The Downtown Development Authority presented informative slides that aimed to clear up confusion by defining what exactly the Downtown Development Authority is, what it has the power to do, and the DDA’s intention to use the Main Street 4-Point Approach to improve Stone Mountain’s downtown area.

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) was created “to revitalize and redevelop the central business district” of Stone Mountain, according to the presentation. It is governed by an elected volunteer Board of Directors made up of both interested citizens and business and property owners.

The Main Street 4-Point Approach, set forth by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is “the foundation for local initiatives to revitalize communities by leveraging local assets — from cultural and architectural heritage to local enterprises and community pride.”

City Council members and DDA elected volunteers discussed concerns about funding and volunteer terms. DDA Director Kayla Johnson highlighted that money spent by the Downtown Development Authority is a form of investment in the improvement of Stone Mountain’s historic downtown area.

Good DDAs have an entrepreneurial mindset to help small businesses, said Johnson.

The 4-Point Approach consists of organization, promotions, design and historic preservation, and economic restructuring.

For Stone Mountain, one of the most important of these is promotion, which Johnson says can help create that sense of community pride and bring Stone Mountain from being a village to being a city.

Mayor Wheeler said that she felt the joint session was important.

“I think this presentation will help a lot of people understand [the DDA] a little bit better,” Wheeler said. “What people have to understand is we’ve had a lot of turnover over the last few years, so I think that’s hurt us a little bit in moving forward.” She noted that Kayla’s work has “pulled a lot of people together in the downtown area.”

Both business owners in the DDA and City Council members expressed gratitude for the conversation that was held and proposed similar joint sessions to possibly be held quarterly or bi-annually.

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