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400 facelift in the works
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Dawson County commissioners on Thursday are expected to discuss ways to spruce up the Ga. 400 corridor in an attempt to attract economic development to the area.

District 1 Commissioner Gary Pichon said implementing the "Main Street Project" has been a top priority of his for several years.

"I've been concerned over time that we need to spiff up Main Street reflect our community," he said. "I'm not talking about something grand to make us look like Hilton Head. We don't need fountains. We don't need sculptures.

"What we need is to pick up the trash, keep it clean, keep it mowed with good grass coverage and then some low line shrubbery that's easy to take care of, that's native, that makes the place look tended."

State money, such as the Georgia Transportation GATEway Grant, is available for such beautification projects.

"I'm concerned about 400's appearance over time and what its appearance means to the commercial businesses that are out there," Pichon said.

"What I'm hoping is we can take this grant, develop a plantings plan, go to the state and then begin to execute a planting and maintenance plan for our main street."

The transportation enhancement grant funds projects up to $50,000 and requires no matching money from the county.

"If you think about the economic center of our community ... the weight of the business ... by far and away is along 400, so that corridor out there is really our key business center," Pichon said.

"This has to do, not with meeting some aesthetic standard, but making sure that our businesses operate in an environment that benefits them."

A presentation outlining the grant and initial project plan will be discussed during a work session at 5 p.m. Thursday. The commission could vote on matter at its meeting, which follows at 6 p.m.