Residents who take a stroll around the Square for a special event or visit the Welcome Center may be familiar with her now, but back in February, Harris-Braggs was a new face in town.
A Henry County resident for the past 13 years, Harris-Braggs had a head start in community building projects before she signed on as McDonough’s Main Street manager.
She served in the same position in Griffin for five years prior to taking the role in McDonough.
On looking back at being the new girl in town, Harris-Braggs said, “My first year in McDonough has been great. The people here have been extremely welcoming and enthusiastic. I feel right at home and have been very pleased at how quickly I have been able to acclimate myself to the town, get to know the downtown business owners, and meet with community leaders.”
The Main Street program serves to foster a sense of community in the downtown area by providing entertainment and events to encourage people to eat, shop and spend time locally.
Harris-Braggs said although the program has a general framework in place for all cities, McDonough has some unique additions, such as the Ladies’ Night Out shopping and dining event hosted every month.
“As the new Main Street program manager this year, it was definitely not my goal to come in and immediately start changing things. Rather, I wanted to take the time to listen, observe, and then ‘amp up’ what was already in place. With Ladies’ Night Out, I increased marketing and promotional efforts. This, in turn, increased overall participation from both our downtown business owners and the community as a whole,” Harris-Braggs said.
Through working with the community and learning more about what residents and business owners were interested in doing, Harris-Braggs also helped host the Scarecrow Showcase contest in October and the Christmas Tree Decorating Contest in December.
Both events were new to the Square in 2013 and “were successful endeavors that brought hundreds of people and lots of positive energy out to the Square,” said Harris-Braggs.
She said her personal favorite events hosted on the Square included Free Movie Fridays in the summer and the Winter Arts Festival.
“I really enjoy events that bring entire families out to enjoy McDonough’s wonderful historic downtown. Main Street tries to host events that are free and open to the public so that everyone can participate,” Harris-Braggs said.
For 2014, attracting more visitors in the downtown area and expanding the program are in the works.
“Next year, I am looking forward to working closely with the Main Street Advisory Board, the McDonough Downtown Development Authority, McDonough Hospitality and Tourism, the McDonough Historic Preservation Commission and other groups to expand current efforts in the city,” Harris-Braggs said.