Main Street America Accreditation for Lavonia

Lavonia Main Street & Downtown Development
 Receives 2024 Main Street America Accreditation

City of Lavonia has been designated as an Accredited Main Street America™. Being designated as an Accredited Main Street America™ program is a prestigious recognition that highlights a community's dedication to preserving its unique character and fostering economic growth through the Main Street Approach™. This designation is awarded to programs that have demonstrated excellence in meeting rigorous performance standards set forth by Main Street America and its partners. Each year, the list of Accredited programs is announced to celebrate and acknowledge the exceptional commitment shown by these communities towards preservation-based economic development and community revitalization. Overall, the designation of Accredited Main Street America™ program is a testament to the dedication and passion of the communities involved in preserving their heritage and fostering economic development. By following the Main Street Approach™, these programs not only revitalize their downtown areas but also create a sense of place and community pride that is essential for sustainable growth and prosperity.

In 2023, Lavonia Downtown had a growth of 6 new jobs created, 81 events occurred in the Downtown district, 780 volunteer hours, and over $2.3 Million dollars was invested downtown.  Downtown Lavonia is a Rural Zone designated. The designation of Downtown Lavonia as a Rural Zone can bring about various advantages for the area. One significant benefit is the opportunity to receive tax credits that aim to stimulate economic growth, particularly in rural and underserved regions. These credits can incentivize businesses and investors to contribute to the development and revitalization of the community, ultimately fostering a more vibrant and prosperous local economy. Since 2022, there have been notable developments in Downtown Lavonia, with a total of 16 properties being acquired within the district, amounting to an impressive $960,000 in investments.

On February 27, 2024, Lavonia Main Street and DDA presented in front of Georgia Main Street and Department of Community Affairs to achieve their National and State Main Street Accreditation. Rev. Dr. Hugh E. Hendrickson who served as Downtown Development Authority  Chair and Honorable Mayor Courtney Umbehant join the team to represent Lavonia.

Rev. Dr. Hugh E. Hendrickson stated “It was so great to hear them share the exceptional things happening in Downtown Lavonia. The State Agency representatives were excited at the progress we reported. You both work really hard to make Lavonia a better place for citizens, businesses, and visitors.”

Mayor Umbehant stated “Lavonia’s Main Street and Downtown Development programs continue to thrive and find new ways to bring value to our downtown. Barbara Busby and Ashley Rose Dodd do an amazing job leading these programs. The City of Lavonia is blessed to have them.”

City Manager Charles Cawthon had this to say “I appreciate the work done by Barbara and Ashley on behalf of our Downtown Development Authority and Main Street program.  Their efforts have strengthened the overall vitality of our downtown.  Lavonia is a much more welcoming and business forward location because of their work.  I am proud of the energy and efforts they bring to their roles daily. “

The City of Lavonia's Main Street Program is fortunate to have Ashley Rose Dodd as the Main Street Manager and Barbara Busby as the Downtown Development Director leading the way in revitalizing and maintaining the vibrancy of the community's downtown area. With their combined expertise and dedication, they work tirelessly to enhance the appeal and economic vitality of Lavonia's Main Street. Ashley Rose Dodd brings a wealth of experience in community development, while Barbara Busby's background in downtown revitalization adds a unique perspective to their collaborative efforts. Both play crucial roles in shaping the future of Lavonia's downtown area. Their collaborative efforts, passion for community development, and commitment to excellence make them instrumental in driving positive change and ensuring the long-term success of the Main Street Program. With their leadership, Lavonia's Main Street is poised for continued growth and prosperity, benefiting all who live, work, and visit this vibrant community.

The City of Lavonia Main Street and DDA’s performance is annually evaluated by Georgia Main Street which works in partnership with Main Street America to identify the local programs that meet rigorous national performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building meaningful and sustainable revitalization programs and include standards such as, fostering strong public-private partnerships, supporting small and locally owned businesses, and actively preserving historic places, spaces, and cultural assets.

Lavonia’s Main Street Program began in 1998 and is housed in the Historic Depot which also serves as the Welcome Center. The Mission of the Main Street Program is to create, implement and evaluate a systematic plan of work specifically designed to stimulate and sustain downtown economic growth and viability, protect, and preserve our historic resources and downtown character, and enhance the overall quality of life for the citizens of Lavonia.