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Governor Deal signs off on downtown "Renaissance Act" in Macon

Governor Nathan Deal signed into law House Bill 128 which will offer loans to businesses in downtowns across the state.
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Governor Nathan Deal made a stop in Macon Wednesday, signing off on a law that'll give a boost to small businesses across the state. 

Lawmakers hope the downtown "Renaissance Act" will help small businesses at they continue to impact downtown. 

As the final nails are hammered in, and the last bits of flooring are installed, Ocmulgee Traders owner, Steve Bell, is excited and a little anxious about his store opening up in the next couple of weeks.

"You can't have all of the loft development and residential development without a grocery store. So not only are we going to feed our clients, but we're the growth of downtown," Bell said. 

Ocmulgee Traders is one of the small businesses across the state taking advatage of the revolving loan fund that gives owners an opportunity to get everything they need to start up their business. 

Bell says he'll use his $90,000 loan to finish up the grocery store. 

"The funding for a downtown development fund, worked perfectly for what we needed to do, and do all of the buildout is what we'll use that fund for. The rest, myself and the investors, we've done the rest of it.," Bell said. 

Governor Nathan Deal signed off on House Bill 128 or the downtown "Renaissance Act", which offers loans for all Georgia communties, large or small. 

In the past, revolving loans only catered to smaller towns and cities. 

"Having the opportunity to call on a revolving loan fund for the money that is needed to make some of local projects available, I think was the inspiration," Deal said. 

State Representative Allen Peake was one of the driving forces behind the bill. He thinks the success of downtowns in the state is vital to a growing community. 

"Any economic opportunity we can stimulate and spur in the downtowns of our state is good for every community, and that was the incentive and motivation behind the bill," Peake said. 

The act will provide the state department of community affairs with five million dollars in funding for four years to provide assistance and loans to help businesses through out the downtown redevelopment process.

It's help Bell is thankful for, and he's confident it'll help downtowns thrive. 

The bill has passed, but funding for the Renaissance Act isn't ready yet. Officials say to get assistance, businesses will have go through the application process.  

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