COVINGTON -- Downtown Covington has been selected as a destination on the 2011 Heart and Soul Bus Tour, an initiative of the Georgia Cities Foundation.
The annual two-and-a-half day tour features state and federal leaders and developers who travel to various cities to view the downtown area and learn about local initiatives and projects.
"The purpose is to highlight the ways that cities are revitalizing their downtowns," said Alan Dickerson, community development manager with the Georgia Municipal Association. The Georgia Cities Foundation is a non-profit subsidiary of GMA. "The bus will include about 45 riders. It's invitation only."
Covington, which was also a stop on the 2003 tour, was one of nine cities selected because, "We are familiar with what's happening in Covington as far as downtown revitalization goes," Dickerson said.
Each year, the tour travels through a different geographic area, and next year's focus is the east central Georgia I-20 corridor between Atlanta and Augusta. The tour will take place April 13-15, with a stop in Covington on April 13. Guests will have lunch and spend about an hour and a half in the city.
Among those expected to be in attendance are business and philanthropic leaders; state and federal officials; developers; economic development officials; and members of the Georgia Municipal Association and Georgia Cities Foundation board of directors and staff.
The purpose of the tour is to highlight the innovative ways cities create vibrant, attractive downtown communities that enhance quality of life; to educate and inform tour participants in the role successful downtown development plays in the overall economic development efforts of a community; and to celebrate the success in downtown revitalization communities are experiencing throughout the state. Cities that are selected are those identified by the Georgia Cities Foundation as having been successful at downtown development and revitalization.
Covington officials indicated Monday night their support of the tour.
"We've been talking about telling our story and that is an opportunity to tell our story to some fairly prominent folks in the state," said Mayor Kim Carter.