Glover outlines Downtown Bainbridge progress and plans

Published 4:47 pm Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Amanda Glover, director of the Bainbridge Downtown Development Authority, presented a program to Rotarians this week entitled, “Downtown Bainbridge—A Year of Growth.”

Details about the sale and plans for the Fordham (or Nelson) building, which was purchased by building contractor Ricky Faircloth in September, were shown.

Email newsletter signup

The bottom floor will have space for two commercial properties, while the second and third floors will be turned into apartments.

She shared some history of the building—that it was built in 1903, and had a total of 25 rooms when it was a hotel. It originally had a balcony on the second floor, and Fairchild plans to rebuild it.

Glover related changes in the fire codes that will be helpful to future developers, as it will allow more options for installing monitored fire systems rather than full sprinkler systems. They should be able to maintain such original features as the pressed tin ceilings.

More information was given about the brick streets that have recently been uncovered by the City. Glover said they were originally laid in August, 1912, under the administration of Mayor Callahan.

It was reported that 10 downtown buildings were sold and have been or will be rehabilitated; attendance at downtown events was at 12,189, and 969 hours provided by volunteers.

One of the sold buildings is the old Courtyard Café on North Broad Street. It has been purchased by the owners of Mad Rose, is being remodeled, and they will move  in February.

Information regarding the façade grants available for improving the fronts of downtown buildings was given. They are a 50/50 match. Before and after photos of the Sellers’ owned Material Things building were shown to illustrate what a grant can do.

Three new banners with reproductions of historic photos will be placed in the city. One is of the Bon Air, the Callahan Steamship and a view of S. Broad Street. The artistic drawings by Ashley Long were placed on the light poles last year.

Some upcoming events announced include a new Living History Tour planned for April 21 at Oak Hill Cemetery. The Convention and Visitors bureau is purchasing sound systems to be used by each of the portrayers. 

June 3 there will be a Farm to Market event with music and food, promoting the downtown Farmers’ Market.

In answer to questions posed by Rotarians, Glover responded that eight new businesses opened in 2016 and three closed, with six jobs lost.

There is a demand for downtown apartments. She indicated there is a waiting list for the ones in the Bon Air building. The revised Nelson building will have 3 apartments per each of the two upper floors.

Asked about the status of downtown restaurants, Glover responded the city has been working with “Tyler” for one year. He is buying the old Port City Deli Building and she expects the sale to close in a few weeks. She described him as a very experienced and successful chef. He will be using a farm to market approach in his décor and menu selections.

The DDA has developed a booklet containing all the scripts developed for the living history tours since 2012. They are available for $15 from the development office.