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Seymour named DSDA/Main Street director
060707 HEATH SEYMOUR 1
Heath Seymour is the new executive director of Main Street Statesboro and Downtown Statesboro Development Authority. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
    Heath Seymour didn't set out to become a downtown development authority director. An art major in college, Seymour spent several years working as an artist before deciding he wanted to go back to school.
    Even then, working on the business side of downtowns wasn't his initial focus. Instead, he was interested in pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts, but elected to go to the University of Louisville because it was ranked as a top 10 school for entrepreneurs and Seymour considered being an artist as a type of entrepreneurship.
    It was at Louisville Seymour became interested in downtown development and now he's the new director of the Main Street Statesboro and Downtown Statesboro Development Authority.
    He comes to Statesboro from Hodgenville, Kentucky where he served as the downtown development director for around three years. After overseeing multi-million dollars worth of investments in the Hodgenville downtown in advance of the bicentennial celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birthday (Lincoln was born there and the town draws thousands of tourists annually to the place of the 16th president's birth), Seymour decided it was time to move on.
    He applied to several cities and had other offers, but settled on Statesboro for a variety of reasons, including being relatively close to Kentucky and the kindness of the people he met while in town for his interview.
    He was also impressed with the revitalization of the downtown area, something he credits the local business people with.
    "Even if there wasn't a downtown development authority, I think there are enough entrepreneurs here who would invest in the downtown," he said.
    Seymour said he sees a lot happening downtown, but there's also a lot more they can do.
    For example, he cites the relatively small number of lofts available for people to live in the area as something he'd like to see more of. That appears to be the trend nationwide, he said, as more and more people move back into the downtown area after leaving it for the outskirts of towns for the past few decades.
    He also said there are several lots available for new businesses to locate in the area and part of his job is encouraging stores to locate in the downtown area.
    "I think downtowns are the heartbeat of a community," he said.
    Seymour said he's spent a lot of his time asking people what they'd like to see come to the area, saying he knows what he'd like, but unless the community wants it, it's not going to succeed.
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