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Marietta

Downtowns in Small Towns Make Come Back

Marietta GA small town

Remember in the 60’s and 70’s when mon and pop businesses on main street in most small towns were being driven out of business by big box retailers like Walmart who settled on the outskirts of town on the bypass and near the edge of the freeways and sold at at discounts the Mom and Pops could not match?  In additional to cheaper prices there was plenty of parking and the newness of it.  Then after a while the main street of small towns were ghost towns.

Now many of small towns have their main streets and downtown section back in business with more mom and pop businesses like restaurants, clubs, music stories, antique shops, restored move theaters and more. There are town greens, town squares, bandstands, free concerts, art shows and people walking around taking it all in.  A stroll around on main street of many small towns making you feel good and enjoy their comebacks.    Some housing is even taking place in or near these walkable down towns with lofts being made from old buildings that were hotels or above store fronts or even new construction for people who like living in a walkable community.  The buy local movement plays right in to these down towns with some having weekly farmers markets and seasonal festivals featuring local craftsman.  Then there are new communities on the outskirts that try to bring this small town feel to lifestyle with a town square and walking trails, and some retail.

Some downtown in small towns are going beyond and becoming quite trendy and artsy sporting boutiques and tasty unique restaurants.  Many times local governments have helped bring these downtown back by making improvements including building city centers to get things started.  I am writing this post tonight after spending the day in Marietta Georgia, strolling around their town square, vising museums, antique shops, having lunch at a nice restaurant, stopping by the visitors center and buying tickets for a future concert on the square.   There were many people strolling around and enjoying the Spring weather and this beautiful small town. It is good to see small towns across America make a come back.

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Georgia

Griffin GA – Sun City Peachtree

Griffin GA

I visited Griffin GA for a couple of days recently and got a feel for what it might be like living there.  It seems to be the all American small town, formerly a textile mill town, it is only 40 to 50 miles south of Atlanta but quite a bit more in lifestyle differences.

Griffin has quite a few good amenities that would make it desirable for retirement.  It has a lovely downtown with Hill street running down the middle. The City Hall and the Court Courthouse are right there also.  Tim’s or Louise’s are southern food restaurants with affordable prices and good food. They are quite packed on Sundays after church lets out. All the chain restaurants are there too.
Griffin also always had a good high school football team. The people are real people who are sincere, hard working and humble. A lot of people do commute to the Atlanta area since there are not a lot of high paying jobs in Griffin.  But there are sufficient stores and services, a large regional Griffin Spalding hospital, an experiment station of the University of Georgia, Elk Club, Moose Club and other clubs you would normally find in a small towns.

Prices seems to be very reasonable on services like auto repairs, yard work, handyman services, etc. The housing is very affordable. I called about a 3 bedroom brick ranch with fenced yard in a nice subdivision. It was a HUD foreclosure listing for only $55,000.  Anther person was renting a similar 3 bedroom, 2 bath brick ranch with fenced yard for only $650 month.

Getting around is easy. The traffic is light. To get across town takes 5 to 10 minutes.

So what is the catch?  Well I think Griffin is a very local place.  Many talk about Atlanta as another state even though it is very close.  Many people live their whole lives in Griffin, some move to Atlanta and become professionals to move far away, but many stay put and work blue collar jobs.  There is nothing wrong with that. There are a lot of people retiring in Griffin, but there have not been many moving to Griffin to retire. Until now.
On the outskirts of Griffin toward I-75 that leads to Atlanta, Del Webb has built an active adult community, Sun City Peachtree it is called.  It will have 3400 homes on 1,726 acres, a large golf coarse and a huge activities center that is already built.  Last year I attend the Grand Opening and there were some very excited people there, a few from Griffin, and many from all over.  As Bob Dylan sang, the times they are a changing.

More 55+ Georgia retirement communities   Griffin Spalding Chamber of Commerce