The city completed a streetscapes project earlier this year to spruce up the district, and it's led to new business interest.
"Our occupancy right now is better than it has been in years," City Manager Eric Wilmarth said.
So far this year, the city has issued eight new business licenses just on Gilmer Ferry Road, the "Main Street" through downtown.
"We do have turnover, but nothing stays vacant too long," he added.
One of the newest businesses to move to town, the Georgia Animal Project, will have an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. today for its planned spay and neuter clinic at 310 Gilmer Ferry Road, the same building as Old Mill Antiques. The clinic is expected to open in January.
President Cindy Foster said the nonprofit organization, which offers low-cost spay and neuter procedures for pets whose owners can't otherwise afford them, long had been looking for a permanent location and "finally found the right place."
"Since we bought the building this summer, we have seen more activity," she said about the downtown district. "We are all very hopeful."
A deli is moving into the former Ball Ground Grill location, and a pizza place is moving into the former Packrat's Daughter location.
Those businesses join other downtown merchants including a silk-screening shop, karate studio, plumber, pool and spa store, chiropractor, antiques shop, Dot's Restaurant and Latin Solutions and Leica Distributorship business offices.
The 12 storefronts that were owned by the late Oscar Robertson, known as the "Rock Man," also are seeing a transformation.
So far, three have been turned into businesses: an art studio, Heritage Plumbing, a sign business owned by Ball Ground City Councilman John Byrd.
A Piece of Time, a gift shop, is opening soon in one of the buildings, and Wilmarth said another has been sold, but plans for its use have not yet been filed.
Helene Maloy, owner of A Piece of Time, said she chose the downtown district as it's making a return to prominence.
"We're coming back. It might take some time because of the economy, but I think Ball Ground is coming back," said Ms. Maloy, adding she hopes to open the shop before Christmas.
Wilmarth said construction of the streetscapes project, which included new sidewalks, crosswalks, lighting and landscaping, was a struggle for the downtown merchants but now that it's completed, everyone's benefitting.
"It is more walker friendly. We have crosswalks for the first time," he said.
Mayor Rick Roberts said downtown will look even better once some planed accents, such as benches, are added and the landscaping matures.
Roberts said his next step is to encourage the Ball Ground Downtown Development Association to be more active in promoting the area.
"Downtowns that have had a resurgence have an active DDA," he said.