Blakely's Town Square is Getting a Facelift

By: Jessica Leicht Email
By: Jessica Leicht Email

Blakely's Chamber of Commerce, Early County 2055 and County Commissioners all play part in sprucing up the square.

"If we didn't have court square we wouldn't be Blakely and we want all of the buildings around the square to be as pristine as possible," Early County Board of Commissioners Chairman, June Merritt said.

The chamber saw the need for renovations in the historic Alexander building as an opportunity to draw interest to the area.

"Downstairs we will have a conference center, which we will feel can seat comfortably probably around 100 people. So we can try to bring in different conferences that may be held in Tifton, or Albany or other places to kind of help put Blakely on the map more than it already is," Chamber Director Marshall Hooks said.

A surprise discovery could help, a ghost mural uncovered after pressure washing the building.

"It's a Coca-Cola painted advertisement. So we're really excited to see if there's a way that we can possibly partner with someone to get that renovated to look kind of like it did in the 20's or 30's," Hooks said.

Next to the Alexander building, sits the old Rexall Drug Store and the Blakely Theater, two buildings the chamber didn't have plans for.

"It was just an eyesore really in the community. And they offered it to the county commissioners and we have a plan," Merritt said.

The theater was built in the 1930's and has been vacant for more than 25 years.

"If you grew up in Blakely, you have fond memories of coming here as a child. Watching westerns on Saturday afternoon, I know I spent most Saturday afternoons in this theater."

After the chamber moves into the Alexander building in November, the county commissioners will begin to renovate the Rexall building for their offices and the theater into a performance center.

Officials hope the finished project will attract travelers and boost the local economy.

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