CAIRO, Ga. (WALB) - The Mayor of Cairo is introducing a plan for their downtown.
Mayor Howard Thrower tells me they’re working to create a unique downtown, reflecting not only what Cairo represents, but all of Grady County.
“I think what he’s trying to do is get back where we were because if we go back to January or December, everything seemed to be going along pretty well," said Al Rocuant, who owns a few buildings in downtown Cairo.
One of those includes the Gate 16 Plaza, which he’s owned for two years.
Rocuant said this pandemic shows how much can be taken for granted.
“When we had a busy downtown, it’s like after a while, it becomes like an everyday thing. And then all of a sudden you lose that and that’s when you realize how much you’re losing when you don’t have it anymore," said Rocuant.
Now, he said Gate 16 is down to about 40 percent of their usual tenants.
But a brighter future is on the horizon after the Cairo Mayor announced a plan to bring more life to downtown.
“I’ve always been for progressions of Downtown Cairo," explained Rocuant.
“It’s wonderful that this revitalization is going to happen so it will bring folks of Grady County back to downtown to shop, eat and socialize," said business owner, Janet Wynne.
She owns the Cairo Coffee Company, inside Gate 16.
After opening during the pandemic and struggling to keep people in the shop, Wynne said it’s good to hear the issue is being worked on.
“This is the best time to go ahead and plan for the future of Cairo. If we don’t plan for Cairo’s future, we’re going to be a ghost town," said Wynne.
Mayor Thrower said they’ll have planning sessions over the course of a couple of days.
He said the UGA Archway Program, Downtown Development, and Joint Development Authorities will be sponsors.
The mayor also says they’re having developers and architects come to Cairo and help during the planning sessions.