Tucker is undoubtedly one of the fastest-rising business destinations in the Metro Atlanta area. Each month, the Business Boom will seek to show different examples of how Tucker’s business scene is flourishing. This month's column is written by Business Outreach Coordinator, Angela Brooks.
A vision for making Tucker a destination for living, working, and playing requires capital investment, economic viability, and business and community involvement. All of these essential elements are among the strategic priorities of three appointed boards created for the betterment of Tucker: the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), Urban Redevelopment Agency (URA), and Public Facilities Authority (PFA).
Since the City’s incorporation in 2016 – and derived from several city plans and studies – the Mayor and City Council have authorized the establishment of these organizations as tools and resources for economic growth and development designed to improve many aspects of the overall community. This month, we’ll get to know those boards and how they function here in Tucker.
Downtown Development Authority (DDA)
The DDA focuses on promoting economic growth and revitalization throughout the City’s commercial areas by focusing on key redevelopment projects.
“When people think about the DDA, they think because of the name that we only focus on downtown and Main Street, when actually we cover all of the commercial parcels in the City,” said Damyon Claar-Pressley who currently serves as its chair.
The DDA is charged with catalyzing beneficial sustainable development for the City and is expected to play a vital role in implementation of the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Master Plans, as well as attracting new businesses to Tucker.
Sandy Springs-based Pontoon Brewing Company in March announced that it’s expanding operations into Tucker. Such projects serve as examples that also help to support the retention of existing business by enhancing business districts, attracting new labor pools, and bringing future additional growth with them that other business already here can benefit from.
Urban Redevelopment Agency (URA)
The URA is one of the City’s more recently-formed organizations and is charged with making recommendations to the Mayor and City Council to evaluate and prepare for redevelopment opportunities within the City, including proposed funding programs for reinvestment projects, community redevelopment, and incentive programs and tools to spur economic development and employment and encourage private sector investment.
“It’s great that Tucker now has a URA because when you have successful, thriving economic development and you have formed mutual partnerships that you can be proud of, it transforms the place in which we work, live, and play and that is good for everyone,” said URA board member Derik West.
Established in the fall of 2020, the four-member board serves as an economic development tool focused on the rejuvenation of blighted or run-down properties and areas in the City including implementing gateway corridor improvements to enhance the appeal of areas such as Mountain Industrial and Lawrenceville Highway. Working from its Council-adopted Urban Renewal Plan, specifically defined areas support revitalization of blighted property thereby stimulating private investment using public revenues created by redevelopment. This can lead to the attraction of new jobs, new businesses and elimination of existing factors preventing growth of economic value. An application for a State Opportunity Zone is being prepared that will create a $3,500 state tax credit for every additional job at key parcels in the Urban Redevelopment Area.
Public Facilities Authority (PFA)
The PFA serves as a financing and ownership partner with the City for major developments, obtaining favorable financing and funding for public equipment, buildings, services, and facilities.
“With the creation of this local facilities authority, we’ll be able to secure beneficial, low-cost financing for the City to help complete facilities projects we otherwise might not be able to fund, such as parks and recreational facilities,” said board member Josh Wallace.
Georgia law prohibits a local government from entering into long-term contracts to spend public funds beyond one year, so the City can agree to pay rent to the authority for the use of public facilities such as the City Hall building. The PFA is then able to use a contractual pledge of the future rent payments to raise capital, which is then used for the acquisition, design and construction of the public facilities.
It’s often said that government works better when its citizens get involved, and all of these organizations are made up of local residents and business people working together for the greater good of Tucker.
For more information about the boards, their meeting agendas, minutes and logistics, go to www.tuckerga.gov.