Perry is among nine rural cities selected for a new tax credit program for Georgia downtowns.

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs, or DCA, recently announced Perry’s five-year designation as a Rural Zone, a program established in 2017 that focuses on job creation and private investment in designated areas. The program features a job tax credit, investment credit and rehabilitation credit.

“This package will make infill and redevelopment projects more attractive to investors,” Main Street Coordinator Catherine Edgemon said. “It will be a tremendous boost to redevelop properties where investors previously could not generate a sufficient return on investment.”

The boundaries of the Rural Zone roughly correspond with those of Perry’s downtown development district.

“The courthouse square and historic downtown has been the lifeblood of Georgia’s rural communities,” DCA Commissioner Christopher Nunn stated in a DCA news release. “The purpose of the Rural Zone is to encourage small business investment and job creation to help preserve these small town assets and stimulate economic activity in the community.”

Perry has completed significant research and planning initiatives over the last few years, including a strategic master plan, retail and housing market analysis, wayfinding strategy, branding initiative and hotel feasibility study, Edgemon explained.

“This preparation means Perry is poised to implement the program immediately,” she said. In 2017, DCA also named Perry as a Plan First Communities.

This Rural Zone program can be layered with the Perry Downtown Development Authority’s locally-funded revolving loan fund, revolving loan funds offered through DCA and the Georgia Cities Foundation, and other programs, she said.