Downtown Development Authority

Vision Statement

Downtown Cornelia is a center of activity and economic development. Residents and visitors of all ages and cultures are choosing to live, shop, and work downtown. 

Misson Statement

To continue developing a vibrant commercial base centered on tourism and retail growth, while maintaining the peace and tranquility of our small town charm. 


Note: Board meetings are open to the public.

Main Street America

As a Main Street America™ Accredited program, Cornelia DDA is a recognized leading program among the national network of more than 1,200 neighborhoods and communities who share both a commitment to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. All Main Street America™ Accredited programs meet a set of National Accreditation Standards of Performance as outlined by the National Main Street Center.


The Cornelia Downtown Development Authority is governed by a Board of Directors which is a seven member volunteer board appointed by the board of commissioners for the City of Cornelia.


Heath BarrettMemberOwner of Allstate- The Barrett Agencyscottbarrett1@allstate.com706-939-1111
Emily HerrinChairwomanOwner of Common Ground Corneliaemilyriceherrin@gmail.com678-873-5164
Jessie OwensbyExecutive DirectorCommunity and Economic Development Director for the City of Corneliadmanager@corneliageorgia.org706-778-8585, ext. 280
Noah HamilCity LiasonMain Street Manager for City of Cornelianhamil@cornelia.city706-778-8585, ext. 209
Sarah HigginsMember Higgins Constructionpeachmom2@gmail.com706-894-9069
Alex Michelle MemberMarketing Director for the Habersham Chamber of Commerce 706-778-4654
Brentt CodyMemberBlake Rainwater Construction brenttcody@gmail.com706-939-1026
Lindsey HoltTreasurerOwner of Bigg Daddyslindseyholt6510@yahoo.com706-878-2739
Jamie Keller Member Owner of Sugartopia

Cornelia Downtown Development Authority

The Cornelia Downtown Development Authority (CDDA) was created through a resolution from the Cornelia City Commission in 1982 and was reactivated in the summer of 2011 to further help with revitalization efforts in Cornelia. All downtown development authorities are governed by Georgia Law which requires that all members of a downtown development authority attend 8 hours of training during their first year of office.


The primary goal of the CDDA is to revitalize and redevelop the Cornelia business district and promote for public good and general welfare, trade, commerce, industry and employment opportunities by creating a climate favorable to commerce. The CDDA will work diligently to promote, maintain and enhance an economically viable downtown by focusing public and private resources on the fulfillment of downtown Cornelia’s potential to the benefit of the entire community.


These goals of the CDDA will be achieved by focusing on the following:

  • Facilitate and nurture partnerships with the Department of Community Affairs and other state agencies, the City of Cornelia government, the Cornelia business community and residents.
  • To acquire, construct, improve, alter, repair and maintain properties within the Downtown Cornelia area as set forth in the enabling resolution based on Georgia law.
  • To undertake and oversee the revitalization and redevelopment of the business district within the Downtown Cornelia area and to use those powers as prescribed by law as requested by the City of Cornelia, Georgia

Main Street Four Point Approach

The City of Cornelia is also part of the Georgia Main Street Program. The DDA and the Cornelia Better Hometown work in partnership on a strategic work plan that encompasses the Main Street Four Point Approach™ to downtown revitalization:

  • Community Outreach/Organization: Building consensus and cooperation among many groups and individuals who have a role in the revitalization process.
  • Promotion: Marketing the traditional commercial district’s assets to customers, potential investors, new businesses, local citizens and visitors.
  • Economic Restructuring: Strengthening the district’s existing economic base while finding ways to expand it to meet new opportunities.
  • Design: Enhancing the aesthetics of the district by rehabilitating historic buildings, encouraging supportive construction and infill, and long term planning.

Volunteer Applicants

The City of Cornelia is taking applications for hard-working volunteers to serve on the Downtown Development Authority.

  • Applicants must be taxpayers who live in the city or they must own or operate a business located within the downtown development area.
  • Applicants must also be taxpayers who live in Habersham County and have an interest in economic development in downtown Cornelia.
  • All applicants will be subject to a background check and are required by the State of Georgia to take 8 hours of training within the first 12 months of their appointed term.
  • Board members receive no compensation.


All those seeking appointment will be required to submit an application; the City Manager will present the applications to the Cornelia City Commissioners for consideration for appointment. Applications are available at City Hall or can download the Volunteer Application.

For more information contact Jessie Owensby, 706-778-8585 or by email.

Information to help you start a Business in Cornelia

Appletree Alley Streetscape

Appletree Alley is currently UNDER CONSTRUCTION!!!