“I feel like we’re the sleeping giant of the south,” he said.
The fire burned down the buildings housed by Oz Pizza and Fairburn Antique Mall, both of which have relocated mere feet away.
The city constructed a new building adjacent to Oz Pizza, which it leases to SJ Collins Enterprises, who shares the building it leases to Oz Pizza.
Avery said the building was a joint project to encourage new business downtown where the fire occurred.
To the left of the damaged district, Irish Bred Pub will be opening a location in 2013.
And in between those establishments stands a parcel of greenspace that will eventually be developed into an open-air amphitheater.
Avery wants to see the downtown packed out on the weekends.
Already, he said two businesses just down Broad Street, Gizmo’s Sports Bar and Taqueria Iztaccihuatl Mexican, stay tremendously busy during the weekends.
To top off the development of businesses downtown the mayor said the city has received a $3.1 million Livable Centers Initiative grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission funds to give the sidewalks in the downtown area a facelift.
Avery said the city has also been at work improving downtown streets and pedestrian crossings with brickwork and replacing pipes for better, long-lasting infrastructure.
Outside of downtown, the mayor has set his sights on Duncan Park, which fell by the wayside when the city took over ownership from the county in the 90s, something that has been lamented since Avery joined Fairburn politics.
“I said, ‘Let’s stop talking about this. Let’s do something about it,’’” he said.
So in 2010, the city passed a referendum for a $10.4 million bond, City Manager Tom Barber said.
The funds will be used to renovate Duncan Park, and will also be put toward the amphitheater downtown.
Avery said he is also thrilled to see Cracker Barrel open on Highway 74, with Quick Trip soon to follow.
He said the speed at which Fairburn is recovering from the fire is a testament to the shared vision of the city council, along with valuable input from the business and residential community.
“We’re excited about our business district,” Avery said. “We believe that this corridor will be talked about for years to come.”