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In a Historic Downtown, Disaster Becomes a Chance to Build Something Better

A 2014 fire in Clarkesville, Georgia, was “the worst nightmare for someone who’s in downtown development.” But the recovery launched an essential conversation about what the town square should be.
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City of Clarkesville

Three years after a fire tore through her city’s downtown square, Barbara Kesler had one of the best days of her life. It was the day that the square reopened in Clarkesville, Georgia.

“The day that we did the ribbon-cutting and opened the spaces, it was an overwhelmingly emotional and very positive day for the community,” says Kesler, Clarkesville’s city manager. “It was something we had worked so hard for.”