Harlem officials are working hard to make their hometown a "better" one according to The Georgia Department of Community Affairs and Georgia Municipal Association standards.
A special committee of city employees and local businesspeople met Friday with Allan Dickerson of the community affairs department to complete the lengthy application due Feb. 28.
"It looks to me like you guys about have it all together," Dickerson told the committee.
Once submitted, the application will be forwarded to a seven-member review panel made up of people from public and private sectors of community development. This is Harlem's fifth attempt to gain the designation after being passed over in 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2002.
"The panel is looking to red flag in this a city that really wants to make a difference in the community and improve the quality of life," Dickerson said. "They want to see that you are going to revitalize downtown with this program or not."
There already are plans to widen, upgrade and revamp downtown city streets and have created the Historic Preservation Commission ad the Historic Trade and Tourism Department, which will include the Better Hometown Program.
The program normally gets an average of 15 applications a year, from which 4-6 are chosen for the designation. But it comes with no money. Designated Better Hometown cities can receive technical support from the University of Georgia and are standouts on grant applications, Dickerson said.
As many as four members of the committee will make a presentation to the panel May 6.
The panel will consider coordination between public and private sectors within the city, broad based community support for the volunteer-based program, the city's readiness to implement the program and funding verification.
Winners should be notified by early June. The winners will be formally announced at the GMA's annual conference in Savannah on June 24.
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