Harlem will try again to be a better hometown.
After being denied entrance to the Better Hometown program this past year, Harlem is in the process of reapplying.
The program assists small Georgia cities - populations of 10,000 or fewer - in improving their quality of life by helping them to develop a vision and implement it. There are 52 cities in the program.
Program coordinator Cindy Thilenius said that Harlem was not accepted in 2000 for several reasons: The application lacked resolutions from the county commission and school board in support of the program; Zoning questions were not answered; No activities mentioned resulted from Better Hometown strategy; And the organizational chart was questionable.
''If you miss even one of these, you won't be considered," Thilenius said. ''Some cities get dropped even if they have everything."
But that was a year ago.
Gary Holley, who is leading Harlem's new effort, says his main goal is a complete application. The city council passed a resolution in favor of the program.
''We understand that you don't leave blanks," Holley said.
The application deadline is Oct. 26. Should Holley succeed in getting Harlem in, the city will be the only one in Columbia, Richmond and Burke counties.
Once the application is submitted, Holley and the city must wait for the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to approve or deny entry.
Thilenius said several panels of readers screen applications during the processto eliminate incomplete ones.
''It just ensures that when the candidate is given to the board, they are ready to go," Thilenius said.
Holley said he can only meet the requirements and hope Harlem is found worthy.
''I'll be very disappointed if we don't get it," Holley said. ''I think there is a need in Harlem for those services."
Services include a site visit to assess existing conditions and suggest ways to use existing resources. The program provides technical assistance with marketing analysis and business recruiting. Cities in the program also receive help from the landscape and historic preservation program.
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