COVINGTON -- Nearly 14,000 people attended events in downtown Covington in October, November and December, according to a quarterly report provided by the Main Street Covington board of directors to the county commissioners Tuesday.
The report states that 17 events were held downtown during these three months, drawing 13,839 people. December was the busiest month, with 6,000 visitors to five events, reported Main Street Vice Chair Serra Phillips.
"It shows why we all work hard for great events downtown and why you all are up here serving for these events as well. It's great to see that foot traffic come through our downtown," Phillips said.
There has been a request from citizens, following last year's fall festival that included a screening of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," for more movie events downtown.
Phillips said a committee focusing on special events downtown is in the works to "make sure everyone's needs are met."
One business -- Maggie's Attic on Washington Street -- closed during the quarter. But overall, "During this economic downturn we've seen businesses stay open," Phillips said. There is a total of eight properties for lease downtown, according to the report and three properties for sale, one property under contract and one property sold during the last quarter. One business expansion, of Computer's Trouble Shooters, was reported.
The report indicates that the Main Street board is reviewing the recommendations by consultant Christopher Jones with NewTown Partners, hired by the city of Covington to conduct a review of the program, for incorporation into the 2013-2014 work plan. The recommendations will be the focus of the Spring Board Retreat of the board in March.
The Main Street Downtown Business Council is developing an enhanced retail promotion calendar for 2013, with the goal of creating events and marketing strategies to increase sales and retail foot traffic in the district, according to the report.
"The group determined that this will only be achieved if all retailers, dining establishments and business service providers share ownership, actively participate and collaboratively work to make Downtown Covington a destination," the report states. "The group additionally will focus on developing strategies to promote more retailing from the special events coordinated by Main Street Covington in the downtown district."
Main Street is collaborating with the Newton County Convention and Visitors Bureau to develop a rack card promoting the downtown district that will be distributed to regional visitor information centers.
During her presentation to commissioners, Phillips also noted that Main Street Covington supports the Georgia Renaissance Act proposed by the Georgia Municipal Association. The act would create three different forms of tax incentives for private sector investments within defined downtown boundaries, called Renaissance Districts -- for communities that meet certain qualifications.
The Main Street Board meets at 8 a.m. the second Thursday of each month in the Covington Planning and Zoning Building, located at 2116 Stallings St. Meetings are open to the public.