COVINGTON, Ga. - Ken Gaylord has been a part of the community for about seven years, but he says “even as a newer member of the community, I have felt like I was home since day one.”
He joined the Community Improvement District Board of Directors as a representative for BB&T in 2014 before the CID was officially established. His inspiration for committing his time to the board was because he wanted to make an impact on the community and because it seems like the natural next step for Covington.
“By welcoming people into our community when they come down the corridor they will get the sense they are in some place special.”
The square has made improvements in recent years to improve the lifestyle of anyone who lives in or visits Covington, but Highway 278 is the main entry point into our community, beginning with Exit 90. Over the years, the property values have deteriorated as well as the overall appearance of the corridor.
“The more we can do as a board to improve the overall curb appeal and retail development along that corridor, it’s only going to help entice new visitors to our community,” he said. “Revitalization will help overall business development, an aspect of that is retail development, and with that comes the appreciation of our property values.”
There are three major reasons behind the formation of the CID. These include: improving the values of property owners along the corridor, improving overall business development and perhaps most importantly, to make Covington a better place to live.
“I plan to spend the rest of my career with Covington/Newton County being part of it and the more I can do to improve this community, why wouldn’t I want to be a part of that,” he said.
Some people get content with the status quo, especially since they have not seen drastic improvement or change over the years, but to Gaylord, it is the board’s job to change the people’s minds.
He believes it is crucial to have all of the landowners come together as one decisive unit in order to help attract state and federal funds.
“It certainly helps with the tax dollars we are bringing in to fund the Master Plans to show what the vision and goals are,” he said.
Ultimately, the Highway 278 CID is at a point where it needs additional funding in order to be able to physically start making changes along the corridor. Part of this falls on the board to communicate its overall mission of becoming Georgia’s most desirable community to live, work, play and shop.
“To me within the community and being a part of this board is trying to help business owners and community leaders understand the importance of the CID and the incredible impact it can have on this community.”
Throughout every step of the process, the CID board has prioritized partnerships. These partnerships include landowners, especially in the beginning as they were trying to get buy-in. The Highway 278 CID landowners play a critical role since their tax dollars contribute to the funding of these plans and projects.
However, “the tax dollars we collect is an initial investment,” Gaylord said. “It helps us leverage so many other resources in order to get these projects accomplished.”
In order to reach their vision, they need the support of the entire community. This is where they focus on “trying to get community leaders and government to understand our sole focus is to help this community become better.”
The support of the community, including landowners, can also help influence these partnerships by vocalizing their support of these improvements. The CID has to have the backing of partnerships in order to accomplish their goals.
In Gaylord’s opinion, the easy part of the vision is how the improvements will impact the property owners and tenants.
“Property owners are directly going to see the improvement of property value and traffic patterns, as well as additional [potential consumers] coming down the corridor because it will be more inviting.”
Business owners will also benefit from the additional profits.
“It’s really a no-brainer for the businesses along the corridor and how they are going to benefit.”
We have evidence of the positive effects of CIDs throughout Georgia such as Cumberland CID in Cobb County, Buckhead CID, and Gwinnett Village CID. In each of these districts we can see the revitalization and improvements taking place we hope to someday see in Covington.
When asked how the changes will motivate property owners to make improvements Gaylord said, “Once you get the ball rolling and people start to see the improvements and change along the corridor, it’s just a matter of people wanting to do their part.” The CID is a collective unit of landowners and as they begin to see the improvements taking place it will be an encouragement to keep up with the competition. “As they see improvements they are going to want to be a part of the team and do their own part to improve their properties which will only help them in the end.”
The board is as eager as anyone to obtain the funding to be able to get these projects started. However, “it’s not going to happen overnight which makes this extremely hard for the Board because we would love to start breaking ground tomorrow.”
Since they are not yet in this position it is important to do all they can to show what their vision is and what they can help create in this community. They are advocating for their vision which is centered on the benefit of the overall community.
If you have any questions about the CID contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information go to our website http://278cid.com. Master Plan: http://www.thomasandhutton.com/278cid/cid-master-plan.html.