City Commission hears downtown renovation plan

Published 10:27 am Friday, November 5, 2021

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By Neil B. McGahee

Managing Editor

Before the Cordele City Commission got down to its work session agenda, they paused to remember an old friend.

“I guess you all know about Mr. Gabe Jordan,” Chairman John Wiggins said. “He was the Managing Editor for the Cordele Dispatch. He passed away last week and on behalf of the Commission, we would like to offer our sincere condolences to Mr. Jordan’s family and his friends.”

Turning to Commission business, Wiggins called on Downtown Development Director Monica Rentfrow to talk about the master plan for the renovation of downtown Cordele.

”We have made headway,” Rentfrow said as she shuffled papers. “I have included the plan of work for this year. We are going to concentrate on beautification and business retention. We will kick off the beautification program in the next few weeks.

“We recently sold three buildings —The McCullum Building at 205 S. Eighth Street: 203 S. Eighth Street that was the old Bargain Barn and the Allied Building at 118 West 11th Avenue.

“RailFan Festival is next weekend and rail fans are already visiting the platform. One gentleman came yesterday and hasn’t left. He is sleeping in his car at RailFan Park.”

Rentfrow said there are some big projects coming down the pike.

“Y’all they are fixing to spend millions of dollars down there,” she said. “For developers to come and spend money on these properties — we were just recently declared a rural zone — we have to sell the experience of downtown Cordele. All I am asking is for you guys to put it on the radar and will you give me permission to maybe do some research for funding.”

Next Rentfrow showed a three-story building adjacent to the Allied Building that she said is slated to become a small hotel with ground floor retail outlets and loft apartments on the second and third floor.

The last area due for revitalization is the old water works building with its unique water tower. Rentfrow said that Chris Johnson, a Columbus artist who specializes in outdoor art, would be a good candidate to paint a mural on the tower

Rentfrow said she thinks the work needs to begin on 11th Avenue and Seventh St. because there are already established businesses and more activity.

“All I need is your permission — this is city property — to bring someone from a design firm to give some ideas,” Rentfrow said.

After the department heads gave their reports, the commission discussed an ordinance restricting on premises consumption licenses in the downtown area.

Georgia law prohibits voting at a work session so all discussion will be extended to the regular meeting on Tuesday, November 16 at 5:30 pm.