VSU helps Adel with an economic development project

ADEL, Ga. (WTXL) — Adel executives are teaming up with college students to bring business back to downtown. Census Bureau data from 2019 shows almost a quarter of the 5,500 people living in Adel live in poverty. Progress seems to keep moving in Adel, Georgia.

“In the 1970s it was a thriving downtown area,” said Adel Mayor, Buddy Duke.

The once bustling downtown has lost a lot of business over the years.

“The mall and malls that came out on the freeway,” Duke explained. “Basically, the little downtown just dried up.”

He and the town leaders are looking for new ideas to recover some of this business.

“The city is very determined to do something here,” said Randy Lane. He is Adel’s Director of Community Development.

“In 2019, we had a vacancy rate of 28% in our city center. We have 88 buildings in our downtown area. In 2021, we have a vacancy rate of 5%,” Lane added.

Now they’re taking ideas from the next generation.

“It turned out to be a very interesting learning opportunity,” said Dr. Joseph Robbins. Working through the South Georgia Center for Regional Impact at Valdosta State University, Robbins led a group of students seeking economic growth opportunities in Adel.

Adding green spaces, seating and reorganizing alleys are just some of the ideas his team came up with. They also looked at social media strategies to highlight and showcase local businesses and ongoing events in Adel.

“It’s necessary,” Joey Abbott said. “With the economy the way it is, we need whatever we can get.”

Abbott is renovating a 115-year-old storefront in hopes of attracting more visitors to South Hutchinson Avenue.

Everyone involved said the work of the students could help the city.

“Without having a vision, a hope and a dream, you will dry up and die. We don’t want to do that here at Adel. We want to keep pushing and doing better,” Duke concluded.

The student-developed guide is designed to help Adel over the next 10 to 15 years. The team also suggested applying to include the T-Mobile Hometown grant program, which could bring up to $50,000 to the city. Georgia Power Company grants release at least $25,000 to qualifying communities. In addition, the National Park Service assists communities with tax credits for the rehabilitation of historic buildings. Currently, three buildings in Adel could qualify and help the town bring in more money.

Comments are closed.