One of my top priorities as your next mayor is to reinvigorate Doraville’s Downtown Development Authority (also called its “DDA”) – this is a committee empowered by the state to revitalize and re-develop central business districts in cities in Georgia. Chamblee’s DDA is the organization that has financed most of the development that has happened in that city over the last decade. Our own DDA will be an important tool for Doraville to use as we build on our city’s strengths and address our weaknesses.
In its current state, Doraville’s DDA is in no position to begin this process: 5 out of 7 of its members have terms that have expired, some members are no longer eligible to be on the board (having sold their business) and others have never attended a meeting. Meetings are only held infrequently.
As mayor, I would first make sure we have the right people on the DDA. Second, I would schedule annual joint meetings or retreats between the DDA and the city council – so that council could give the DDA direction on the types of projects that they should be prioritizing. Third – I would empower the DDA to make deals. Once this process gets started, we will start to see a virtuous cycle of growth, with other businesses deciding to open here. This has worked for other cities, and it can work for Doraville! By getting this cycle started, our city would begin to grow the value of properties in its digest and start the road to overcoming some of the budgeting challenges we have experienced in recent years.
We can do this now – we just need leadership willing to get the process started!