The DDA: a force for economic development

The Fayetteville Downtown Development Authority has helped preserve several iconic, historical properties around the Courthouse Square.

The role of Fayetteville’s Downtown Development Authority may not be widely understood by the average community member, if they’ve ever heard of the DDA at all, but the impact this organization has had on the city has been great, and its potential impact moving into Fayetteville’s future is even greater.

The Fayetteville DDA is led by a seven-member board of volunteers that works closely with the City’s Main Street Fayetteville and Downtown Development departments. The board members are appointed by the Fayetteville City Council, each for four-year term. They typically meet on the third Wednesday of each month at 8 a.m. on the Third Floor of the Old Fayette County Courthouse.

The mission of the Fayetteville DDA is to revitalize, enhance and stimulate economic development in the City of Fayetteville, with an emphasis on maintaining the historical integrity and charm in the downtown district.

Strolling into Historic Downtown Fayetteville, guests won’t see a sign hanging anywhere that says “Fayetteville Downtown Development Authority”. However, if they’ve seen the Holliday Dorsey Fife Museum, the Hollingsworth House, Gremlin Growlers, or Twisted Taco, they seen the work of DDA. If they’ve taken part in a Taste of Living History or Cemetery Tours event, they’ve experienced the DDA’s hospitality.

When the historic Hollingsworth House was set for demolition to make room for construction next to Fayetteville First Baptist Church, the Fayetteville DDA took ownership of the house and moved it a few blocks west on Stonewall Avenue and refurbished it where it now sits between the Fayette County Administrative Complex and the former Fayette County Board of Education property. The house was sold to private investors in 2008.

Also in 2008, The Fayetteville DDA purchased and renovated the building that has since been occupied and purchased by Twisted Taco. Earlier than that, the Fayetteville DDA purchased the Holliday-Dorsey-Fife house and converted it to a historical museum that is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday.

The Fayetteville DDA purchased and renovated the Courthouse Square building now occupied by Gremlin Growlers. It later commissioned a mural to be painted on that building’s north-facing wall.

Powers granted by the State of Georgia to development authorities include helping elected governments issue bond funding for capital purchases and improvements. Examples in Fayetteville include the downtown streetscape project and the purchase of the Villages Amphitheater, now known as Zac Brown’s Southern Ground Amphitheater.

Development authorities may also help qualified local businesses secure low-interest loans. The Fayetteville DDA worked with OZ Pizza in this way to help with renovations to their building prior to their 2016 opening on the Courthouse Square.

“The Fayetteville DDA’s impact on the downtown area has been immense,” said Downtown Development Director Brian Wismer. “As the City moves forward with this current downtown revitalization initiative, we’ll see the DDA take a key role in attracting the right businesses to complement those efforts.”

Wismer noted the Fayetteville DDA recently purchased another historic home and adjacent vacant lot along Stonewall Avenue that will be used to further the City’s Downtown Redevelopment Plan.

“We look forward to posting our progress each step of the way on the City’s website and social media pages,” Wismer said.

Jul 16, 2018 9:17 am |