By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Hinesville, Fort Stewart initiate partnership
Teresa Lynch and Bill Armbruster stand in front of the crowd. - photo by Photo by John Deike
Representatives of the city of Hinesville and Fort Stewart convened at city hall this past week and initiated a comprehensive partnership program to revitalize the downtown district.
The Army-Community Heritage Partnership Program could advance the capabilities of the downtown district by providing new products, services, entertainment, tourism and marketing to boost the struggling economy in the area, senior program officer Teresa Lynch said.
There will be a total of 24 representatives from Hinesville and Fort Stewart, along with several volunteers, who will begin to focus on what the downtown district needs to become prosperous, downtown manager Sandy White said.
With the aid of the representatives, the volunteers will be broken down into focus groups to center on what the demands of the people are, and how to meet them, she said.
“We especially need to draw specialty shops, entertainment and good restaurants to our area to up our tourism revenue,” she said.
Once the focus groups have indicated what they want, the army will pay experienced consultants to help recruit the desired businesses to the town, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army Bill Armbruster said.
He noted the entire process would take between 18 to 24 months.
To increase participation, Hinesville has also supplied a few incentives to current and incoming businesses, White said. If a business owner wants to renovate the inside or outside of a business, they would pay 50 percent, and the city would match the other half of the costs.
Second, the banks will offer low interest rate loans to current or future proprietors, and third, thousands of dollars in tax credit will be offered as new employees come into the district, she said.
“We have a chance here to offer a center to this community that people can gravitate around, and hopefully, we can build a downtown district that will last,” Liberty County commissioner Donald Lovette said.
But after hearing the concerns of townspeople, Armbruster said difficulties can arise from such a situation.
“After the consultation is finished and the businesses come in, it can be hard to keep the communication between the army and community to continually figure out how to meet the demand of everyone,” he said. “In order for this program to serve as more of a quick fix, the lines of communication need to stay open.”
Sign up for our e-newsletters