HOLLY SPRINGS — The city of Holly Springs has voted to go through with plans to fill the void left by now-closed industry in the core of the city by constructing a new “Downtown Holly Springs.”
The Holly Springs City Council voted at its meeting Monday to approve plans for the development near Cherokee County Fire Station 8 on Hickory Road.
Mayor Tim Downing said Wednesday the city paid about $3 million of SPLOST funds for the 25-acre site, which sits down the street from the Holly Springs train depot and one of the last-standing historic homes in the city, the Hardin House.
Holly Springs has worked with development firm Macauley-Schmit — who also was at the helm for the Harmony on the Lakes development — on the project. They hope to have the development up and running in the next three to five years, Downing said.
Downtown Holly Springs will include a senior living facility, apartments, commercial space, an open “green space,” which may play host to festivals and concerts and, the central feature of downtown, the new Holly Springs City Hall.
At one time the area set aside for the future downtown was already the closest thing to a “downtown” Holly Springs ever had, but Downing said through the years, as the rest of the city grew around it, the area became stagnant and businesses there “just died off.”
But since the city started purchasing the property in 2004, plans began to “revitalize” the area, the mayor said.
Several houses that once sat on the land have since been demolished and the land cleared, though Downing said if the city’s plans come to fruition, downtown Holly Springs will be a place to live once again.
“The goal of the development was for it to be a ‘live, work, play’ development,” Downing said, for all age groups, where they can live and have places to shop, socialize and get health care nearby, the health care being a short drive away at Sixes Road. For guidance on the development, Holly Springs city officials visited other similar developments in north Georgia towns.
But Downing said these stops in Vinings Jubilee in Atlanta, Duluth and Suwanee were just for inspiration.
“Our goal is not to be a new city,” Downing said. “We’re trying to capture the character of Holly Springs and the origins of Holly Springs, the way it was, early 1900s. We want to stay in character. We’re not trying to be something that we’re not.”