Leaders want to bring life back to downtown Cairo - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Leaders want to bring life back to downtown Cairo

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April 11, 2008

Cairo--A group of store owners have been assigned a complicated task: come up with a master plan to revitalize downtown Cairo.  "Not that we're disappointed with what's going on but we need some new retail stores downtown. We have growth in other areas in Cairo and we don't want the downtown area to lag behind," says Scott Higginbotham, Chairman of the newly formed Downtown Development Authority.

Neighboring towns like Thomasville have thriving downtown areas that draw customers from Tallahassee and other areas.  It's something Cairo aspires to. "We want to keep our downtown viable where people will want to come and shop here in Cairo," says Cairo City Councilman Ernest W. Cloud.

One goal is to approve overall appearance and facades of the buildings.  "We're offering to pay up to $5,000 for half of their improvement. If they spend $10,000 we'll reimburse them $5,000 to go and have the front or side of their building updated," says Higginbotham.  

Another issue that has come up is parking. Some want to make the 4 lane Broad Street, a 2 lane road and change the parallel parking to angle parking.  "We were thinking that it would give the stores more parking spaces. A lot of the merchants complain that they don't have front street parking," Cloud explains.

But as Higginbotham points out, "The disadvantage is certain times of the day, early morning, in the evening- its just a traffic nightmare."  Plus it would require making Broad, currently a state highway into a city street.  "We would have to go before the legislature or go before the department of transportation to take over this street. It would be a lengthy process that would have to be done," says Cloud.

But this committee is in it for the long haul, and they'll do whatever it takes to make downtown Cairo the place to be.

If you'd like to give input for the downtown development authority to consider, there is a suggestion box at Cairo City Hall, or to submit suggestions online go to the city's website.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=CairoDowntownAuthority/sb