Downtown Development Authority

The Ellijay Downtown Development Authority meets at 4:30 pm on the second Wednesday of every month in the Better Hometown Office at City Hall.

Members of the authority are Melinda Hadden, chair; Kent Sanford, vice-chair and organization committee chair; Larry Robinson, design committee chair; Jeff Riblet, treasurer and economic restructuring chair; Jim Stover, promotions committee chair; Patty Kyle; and Al Fuller. Mona Lowe is recording secretary and executive director.

The Vision of the Ellijay Downtown Development Authority is for Ellijay to be a vibrant destination for people of all ages to shop, dine, live, work, play and do business. The Mission of the Authority is to enhance our community identity and heritage, to foster a center of activity, and to ensure economic stability.

The DDA operates Ellijay’s Main Street program, a  community-based, self-help framework to develop and maintain our city’s economic health and quality of life. It is grounded in the principles of historic preservation and the National Main Street Center’s four-point approach to downtown revitalization: organization, design, economic restructuring and promotion. This approach which has been implemented in more than  1,800 cities and towns in 44 states. The public-private partnership is aided by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs Office of Downtown Development.

For more information, visit

Downtown Development Authority  Goals

Economic Restructuring

  • Build and maintain a list of available commercial properties
  • Develop planning charette
  • Recruit an anchor attraction
  • Promote empty buildings to local realtors, possibly with open house/tour
  • Create top ten business prospect list
  • Review code to see if ordinances could be more business friendly
  • Develop possible incentives for prospective new businesses
  • Create incentives for business/property improvement
  • Support responsible use of three rivers and all natural resources working with organizations such as Submerge Our Sewers , Blue Trails, Rails with Trails, etc. to responsibly develop outdoor offerings


  • Development program budget/ fundraisers
  • Identify needs and resources
  • Develop orientation for new volunteers
  • Build a new program website to include visitor information such as tours and maps, calendar, project information
  • Participate in social media channels, develop visitor smart phone apps
  • Build database of city business owners, operators, services, property owners
  • Build database of civic organizations, government officials, agencies, volunteer groups, Hispanic leaders, senior citizen organizations, etc.


  • Continue Beautification Awards Program
  • Continue downtown planters, tree surrounds projects
  • Develop façade and back door improvements improvement program
  • Update downtown locator signs
  • Quilt Trail
  • Develop and install system of coordinated, branded Gateway signs
  • Coordinate poster contest
  • Complete list/description of existing buildings


  • Work with local businesses to target local shoppers – promotion program
  • Support development of Harrison Park
  • Sponsor – Saturday Market, Fourth of July celebration, Scarecrow Celebration, Halloween, possible Quilt Show, Light Up Ellijay and other Christmas celebrations, St. Petrick’s Day
  • Assist – Taste of Ellijay;  Apple Arts on the Square; Fast & The Furriest 5K Race and 1-Mile Dog Dash Nov. 3; other community events
  • Continue and improve use of downtown kiosk/ assist Chamber in keeping welcome center open
  • Develop and use market position or brand




Phone: 706- 635- 4711, ext. 5, Email:

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