Monroe receives Georgia’s Exceptional Main Street designation

press release from Georgia Main Street

City recognized for successful implementation of business-driven strategy

Tara Bradshaw (far right) was on hand at the Monroe City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 13, to congratulate members of Downtown Monroe Main Street program for earning the designation of a Georgia Exceptional Main Street (GEMS) community. Photo credit: Sharon Swanepoel

Atlanta, GA (April 14, 2021) – The Georgia Main Street program announced Monroe will be added to the list of 20 cities that hold the designation of a Georgia Exceptional Main Street (GEMS) community.

The staff of the Office of Downtown Development with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs attended the April 13thth council meeting to relay the mission of the Georgia Main Street program and the significance of the GEMS recognition. 

GEMS cities represent some of the best Main Street Programs offered by the state. These Main Streets “have gone above and beyond expectations by making a strong and positive impact in their communities while utilizing the Main Street Approach,” according to Tara Bradshaw, the economic development specialist of the Office of Downtown Development. Bradshaw congratulated Monroe on their “commitment to excellence and stable leadership” that led to this designation. Over the past three years, downtown Monroe has seen millions of dollars in private and public investment, with an emphasis on new businesses and job creation. 

In addressing the Monroe City Council on Tuesday, Bradshaw said that in 2021 Monroe became the newest addition to these exceptional cities across the state that are committed to the growth of commercial downtown development. Main Street programs are required to meet 10 standards to obtain the “Exceptional Main Street” designation and Monroe has achieved that by “consistently going above and beyond” to do so. More than 18.4 million was invest in public and private funds downtown last year netting 133 new jobs and bringing 130,000 people to the downtown area.

Bradshaw said that the city will be gifted with a sign that welcomes people to the downtown area noting that it is a Georgia Exceptional Main Street community.

“I cannot wait to see what the future holds for this exceptional downtown community,” she said.

Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more 40 years. Today, it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $74.73 billion in new public and private investment, generated 

The Main Street Approach® is a proven methodology that empowers communities to utilize their distinctive assets, such as their independent businesses and historic character, to revive their commercial districts, strengthen local economies and increase civic engagement. Since 1980, the Main Street Four-Point Approach® to downtown revitalization has been used by more than 100+ communities statewide to create more than 80,000 net new jobs and stimulate a 7.3 billion dollar private/public investment.

About the Department of Community Affairs 

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) partners with communities to build strong and vibrant neighborhoods, commercial and industrial areas through community and economic development, local government assistance, and safe and affordable housing. Using state and federal resources, DCA helps communities spur private job creation, implement planning, develop downtowns, generate affordable housing solutions and promote volunteerism. DCA also helps qualified Georgians with low and moderate incomes buy homes, rent housing and prevent foreclosure and homelessness. For more information, visit

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