Business Promotion & Retention:
Small businesses are the backbone of American commerce, and they are the primary drivers of Downtown Augusta’s economy. The DDA focuses its efforts on recruiting and retaining the central business district’s small businesses through advocacy efforts, marketing support, grant programs and consulting services.
Commercial and residential growth in the central business district during the past two decades has created a shortage of parking spaces for downtown shoppers, visitors and residents. For years the DDA has advocated for a parking-management program to help ensure adequate parking for downtown visitors, business patrons, workers and residents.
The appearance of Downtown Augusta is crucial to its ongoing success. Numerous national studies have proven a direct correlation between public perception and commerce, showing that graffiti, boarded-up buildings and litter dissuade visitors, residents and potential investors. Based on survey results from downtown business owners, the DDA advocates for restarting the Clean Augusta Downtown Initiative (CADI), which city officials allowed to sunset in 2013.
The DDA, through inter-governmental agreements with the City of Augusta, works on public/private partnerships to attract new businesses, develop vacant properties, redevelop existing buildings and improve public spaces in the central business district. The DDA assists existing and potential business owners and real estate developers with market research, consumer data and, where appropriate, access to grant funding and government bond financing.
Downtown Augusta’s eclectic mix of bars and restaurants have helped lead the central business district’s renaissance. The DDA advocates for expanding the ability of these businesses to expand their outdoor footprints to public spaces, including side streets and sidewalks, for special events through a temporary permitting process. Additional capacity during events such as First Friday and the annual Arts in the Heart of Augusta festival would help small businesses thrive and create additional revenue for the city.