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DDA Finalizes Purchase Of Former Econo Inn Site

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) of Vidalia met in a called meeting on Tuesday, November 15, to sign and execute the documents that will finalize the purchase of one-half of the former Econo Inn site for the construction of the Greater Vidalia Chamber’s Center for Rural Entrepreneurship.

According to the DDA, the Toombs County Development Authority (TCDA) has officially purchased the property on Main Street in downtown Vidalia for $666,500. In the agreement, the DDA promises to contribute up to $100,000 toward the project, which will house the Greater Vidalia Chamber office, TCDA office, and the new Center for Rural Entrepreneurship.

DDA members also shared that the parties are planning on another agreement to lease the remaining half of the site, which still belongs to the DDA, to the TCDA for parking construction equipment for up to 18 months.

The property was purchased by the City of Vidalia in August 2021, but ownership was transferred to the DDA in September 2021, so that it could be prepared for economic development. The structures on the site were demolished in April 2022, and the continued from page

city’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) workers have maintained the area since then.

In a called meeting on August 2, the DDA proposed the sale of the .39acre location to the TCDA.

According to City Manager Nick Overstreet, the profit from this transaction between agencies will be used to pay off some of the City’s loan to buy the Econo Inn site. The DDA retains ownership of the remainder of the property, but has not yet disclosed how it will be developed.

DDA Chairman Brian Frederick commented on the exchange of the property. “On behalf of the DDA, we are looking forward to the new project as a result of the sale of this portion of the property to the Toombs County Development Authority and are excited about them choosing this site as the home of the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship. The Authority, the Greater Vidalia Chamber, and the City of Vidalia worked tirelessly to see this project through. We certainly look forward to its future impact.”

He continued, “We believe this Center will only enhance our downtown and provide an additional anchor to our growing and thriving business community. Our desire is that many future entrepreneurs will take advantage of this Center and provide our community and others around us as well, with businesses that will increase our already growing and expanding economy.”

The Center, which will be publicly owned by the TCDA, will operate under a public-private partnership structure between the TCDA and Greater Vidalia Chamber. These entities will oversee and manage the Center operations and programming.

As a central hub for entrepreneurship and innovation, the Center will strive to help business owners thrive, overall helping to build the economy throughout the area. It will teach individuals the basics of running businesses and will provide resources for these individuals to gain partnerships and needed services for their entrepreneurial experience.

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