b'DowntownBainbridge: Setting a Vision for Growth W ith its moss-draped streets and historical architecture, the picturesque town of Bainbridge received an economic boost when it received designation as a Georgia Rural Zone. Celebrating 30 years as an accredited Main M S I R U TO Street America program, Downtown Bainbridge was one of nine communities selected as a Georgia Rural Zone in 2018. The Georgia Rural Zone Tax Credit program, administered by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, is open to cities with less than 15,000 people.Requirements include a focused concentration of historic commercial structures, proven economic distress based on poverty rates, vacancy within the downtown area or blight, and a master or strategic plan designed to guide private and public investments.Bainbridge checked all the boxes, and from 2018-2022, qualified businesses and investors are eligible to obtain tax credits for job creation and renovation efforts to existing properties.Tax credits start once two full-time equivalent jobs are secured. When the requirement is met, businesses can apply for an investment tax credit representing TWS DESIGN 25% of the buildings purchase price, up to $125,000, spread over five years.The third tax credit covers 30% of the buildings qualified rehabilitation costs, not to exceed $150,000, with the credits prorated equally over three years. 50 SG MAGAZINE| WINTER 2022 BUSINESS + CULTURE51'