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DDA will stabilize Nelson Building

Based on the recommendation of Downtown Development Authority Chairman Al Collins, the board gave approval Thursday to move forward with stabilizing the back-corner wall and first floor of the Nelson Building.

Downtown Development Director Amanda Glover said she had received no responses to the letters sent out inviting purchase offers on the building; and that interest was generally down over the last few months. She also recommended making the necessary repairs, suggesting that when the economy picks up they will have better luck. She expressed concern that by doing nothing the building would further deteriorate.

The DDA will begin seeking bid proposals on the project.

Glover told the authority that Phase II of the Streetscape plan should go to bid in January. There will also be a change in the tree plantings, as all the Savannah holly trees will be replaced by Foster holly variety, according to the latest recommendation.

The design guideline plan being developed by MACTEC Engineering and Consulting is ahead of schedule, according to Glover. Three sections will be ready for review by Christmas, and it looks as if it will be completed in the spring, beating the September deadline.

The Historic Preservation Commission is expected at the Nov. 25 meeting to consider two applications for certificate of appropriateness. One is from Godwin’s Jewelers for a digital sign and the second is for a wooden fence at the home of Bryan Barnett.

According to Glover, the Godwin sign was approved in February 2007, but when the permit application was received two weeks ago, the size of the sign had been increased.

The authority approved application for a $1,000 facade grant from Ken Markham at Kres Jewelers to replace a canvas awning and repaint the outside of the building where needed. Total cost of project improvements will be $2,112.

Upcoming events and dates were discussed by Main Street Director Dit Albritton.

• The Holiday Open House will be held Sunday, Nov. 23, from 1 to 5 p.m. with participating merchants on and near the square featuring special sales and events. Artist Mary Cox will be present in Willis Park for the ornament signing. There will be music, and the Pilot Club will be selling poinsettias.

• A new event this year, Christmas on the River, which replaces the Candlelight Walking Tour, will be held at the Boat Basin Dec. 4, beginning at 6 p.m. This event will feature a marshmallow roast, horse and buggy rides, music from four church choirs, new lights displayed on the Performing Arts Building, a lighted archway leading into the Boat Basin, and official turning on the lights of the new Christmas tree installed at the basin.

• There are currently approximately 50 applications received from Christmas parade participants. Albritton indicated many wait until the last minute to apply. The parade will be held Dec. 11 beginning at 7 p.m.

• Christmas on the Square will be Dec. 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. with merchants staying open to give last-minute shoppers a chance to come downtown, mingle, roast marshmallows, take buggy rides, and enjoy the holiday atmosphere offered.

• Downtown holiday festivities conclude with the Bainbridge British Brass Band appearance in the Willis Park Gazebo Dec. 24 at 6 p.m. to play Christmas carols for a community s