The Downtown Dalton Development Authority held its annual meeting on Nov. 10 at Dalton City Hall. Although the discussions did reflect on the loss of downtown events this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, not all the news was bad.
Beginning in March of this year, businesses and events were negatively impacted due to the uncertainty of the virus. Businesses and restaurants had to modify procedures and offerings to ensure the safety of both employees and customers. The DDDA was able to provide additional services and resources to support its constituency throughout the emergency orders and health directives.
However, and of particular note, despite the negative impact of COVID-19 on some businesses, approximately 10 new downtown businesses opened in 2020. Additionally, new restaurants and expanded dining options were also added to downtown. Residential opportunities were expanded, and new lofts are currently under development. These activities reinforce the positive trends that have been taking place in downtown over the last several years. It is proof of concept and demonstrates the value of a master plan and key stakeholder collaboration.
The DDDA board has been utilizing this time effectively by continuing to meet regularly to take stock of current program initiatives and strategically plan for the future. Areas of focus include business development, downtown living, as well as transportation and pedestrian experience. Expect more information about these initiatives in the weeks ahead.
The board also reaffirmed its commitment to overall blight reduction and beautification in the downtown district. Two important alleyways have undergone preliminary assessment and survey thus far. Streets and alleys are slated for enhanced litter control and pressure washing for sidewalks. Kudos to area garden clubs for the hanging baskets and flower boxes that add beauty and welcome to our streets.
There are many more accomplishments of the DDDA over the past year, despite a rather challenging environment. We realize, however, that we do not function in a vacuum. The City of Dalton, with its department heads and staff, are integral to our successes. We are also privileged to have and maintain collaborative partnerships, which contribute significantly to our downtown's vibrancy and allure.
Finally, we would like to congratulate John Davis and T.J. Kaikobad as they were reelected to the DDDA Board of Directors for another three-year term that begins Jan. 1, 2021.