The final Livable Cities Initiative plan for central Winder that was presented Tuesday night to the city council will cost more than $50 million in public funding and will take more than 25 years to fully implement.
That begs the question: Can the improvements be made quickly enough to save downtown?
The chairman of the Winder Downtown Development Authority told the Barrow Journal that downtown businesses and restaurants have lost 35-45 percent of their sales from the double whammy of the drawn-out recession and last April’s relocation of the county courts from the historic courthouse on North Broad Street to the new criminal justice center off Hwy. 211.
And there is a third potential blow on the horizon.
The dean of Lanier Technical College’s Winder campus told the newspaper she wants to move the college’s credit programs, which draw hundreds of students downtown each week, out of the downtown facility to a new campus off GA-316 that would be jointly developed with Barrow County Schools for its proposed career academy.
Winder’s city government in 2008 completed the first phase of the streetscape project, which was to build a parking lot adjacent to the city’s gazebo at the corner of North Broad and East Candler Street. Across the street are some of the downtown businesses that benefited from the $25,000 facade improvement program in 2009. Photo by Jessica Brown
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