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Richmond Hill creates Downtown Development Authority
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The Richmond Hill City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to appoint a seven-member Downtown Development Authority to further champion the economic development of the city’s central commercial corridors.

The area affected by the downtown development authority resolution runs the length of Ford Avenue and Highway 17 and includes the commercial centers at exits 87 and 90 of Interstate 95.

Mayor Harold Fowler thanked the new directors for volunteering and said he thought they represented a good cross-section of the business and civic communities and would work for the good of Richmond Hill.

The authority members will serve four-year terms. The position of director is unpaid, and all directors must reside within the city limits of Richmond Hill or the confines of Bryan County. Although unpaid, the directors may be reimbursed for any expenses incurred.

“The purpose of the DDA is to develop and promote the city’s central business district for public good and general trade and commerce. Their work will create a climate favorable to the location of new businesses and also help foster better relationships with existing businesses,” the mayor said in a news release.

Duties of the development authority include acquiring real estate for the purpose of economic development, obtaining loans, grants and other favorable methods of financing economic projects, issuing revenue bonds.

“We are pleased to announce the establishment of the DDA to not only grow the business base of our city, but to retain what keeps us unique,” Councilman Russ Carpenter said in the release.

The new DDA directors are:

• Eddie Warren, co-owner of Re/Max Accent Real Estate;
• Brad Brookshire, Ameris Bank executive;
• Catherine Grant, partner of Richmond Hill Urgent Care Center;
• Georgene Brazer, city resident;
• Paige Glazer, owner of Richmond Hill Reflections magazine;
• Dallas Daniel, owner of Plantation Lumber; and
• Jan Bass, City Council member.

The announcement comes just a few weeks after the council approved the purchase of 51.128 acres across from the Cherry Hill entrance to the Ford Plantation on Ford Avenue as a potential downtown area.

The $1.05 million purchase was from Plantation Village Partners and John A. Murphy and Leslie Murphy LLC. Councilman Johnny Murphy recused himself from that vote because he holds a financial interest in the property.

That land purchase will allow the city to construct a new city hall and city park, along with potentially a new library and commercial opportunities.

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