City of Stone Mountain DDA hosts 2015 Kick-Off Event

City of Stone Mountain DDA hosts 2015 Kick-Off Event

Stone Mountain, GA – On Thursday evening the City of Stone Mountain Downtown Development Authority hosted its annual Kick-Off Event at Silver Hill Manor. The purpose of the meeting was to review 2014 accomplishments and announce plans for 2015. Over 70 people were in attendance.

 “2014 was a year of many changes. We completed the merger of the DDA, Main Street Stone Mountain and the Stone Mountain Visitors Center. We welcomed our new Executive Director, Mechel McKinley. We celebrated our 175th Anniversary and opened 5 new businesses in the Village. It was a big year!” said Mary Beth Reed, Chair of the DDA.

During the evening, 2014 Volunteers of the Year, Pam DeLoach and Beth Snead, were announced. “These women wrangle me, they wrangle our army of volunteers and keep all of us going where we need to be in order to make our events happen. We couldn’t do it without them,” said Mechel McKinley, Executive Director. DeLoach and Snead were presented with certificates and gift baskets.

A major initiative for 2015 is a campaign entitled #VillageStrong. The idea was conceived by Chakira Johnson, DDA Board Member, after the tragic fire at the Westgate Shopping Plaza in the Village. “The community was hurt by the destruction that closed 6 businesses in one swoop. We need a rallying cry. And we needed to focus on the good stuff,” said Johnson.

“We all want to see the Village grow and be successful but sometimes it is easier to focus on the negative. It’s time to redirect our thinking. So when you start to think about something you don’t like about the Village, I challenge you to think about what you love about living here,” encouraged McKinley, during the presentation, “This is a great place to live and work. We have a beautiful natural resource in our backyard. We have the ability to enjoy the resources of living near a major metropolitan area but still have a hometown feel that you can’t get in other places in Atlanta. Stone Mountain Village is a gem and we need to focus on the positive things we gain by living here.”

A #VillageStrong pledge has been created for people to sign that starts, “I pledge to love Stone Mountain Village and be a positive voice for our community.” Signers are asked to recruit two other people to sign the pledge as well. #VillageStrong tshirts are available so that community members can show their pride in the place they call home.

2015 will also feature a new Granite Grasshopper Festival on April 18, the return of the weekly Farmers Market in the spring, a community-based business grant program, a new City Cemetery tour in partnership with the Stone Mountain Historical Society and the continuation of the Façade Grant program.

“2015 is going to be exciting! We have new initiatives, ongoing initiatives and a lot of enthusiasm for moving Stone Mountain Village forward,” said Reed. 

The mission of the DDA is to foster an environment that sustains current businesses and encourages future growth and development while enhancing the historic character of our city using the Main Street approach.