MILTON, Ga. — Milton is banking that its new enterprise will provide a shot in the arm for the businesses of downtown Crabapple by bringing residents and outsiders to the city to drink, dine and shop.
In the same vein as Alive in Roswell, the city will host Meet Me in Milton gatherings from 4 to 8 p.m. on the third Saturday of each month from April through September.
Before the full season, however, the city will kick off the initiative Oct. 26 with vendors and live music on The Green adjacent to City Hall and Crabapple Market.
Milton Economic Development Manager Sara LaDart said each event will be a “family-friendly Milton block party.”
LaDart and representatives with Crabapple developments, including those under construction, brainstormed ways to bolster the business climate in the area, and Meet Me in Milton is the result.
That name carries many meanings, LaDart said.
“It can mean meet me for dinner, meet me to grab a cocktail or meet me to hear some music,” she said. “And we could see that 10 years down the road, the third Saturday of the month means you go to Milton. We want that to be in the minds of people. The name also means that people will think to go to places other than downtown Crabapple. The Deerfield area continues to grow, or maybe people will think to go to Matilda’s (music venue) for a concert.”
With several developments under construction in the area which will add to Crabapple’s businesses, the city decided to pull the trigger on the initiative now.
“When we brought this group together, we didn’t just think about this year,” LaDart said. “In 2020 the Market District will open up, and in 2021 phase 2 and 3 of Crabapple Market will open. We can go through the growing pains now, figure it all out, and when we have all these developments finished, people will be used to coming out each third Saturday.”
The opening event next month will feature vendors lining the Green and live music from Process of Elimination.
LaDart said events in 2020 will be more “organic” in fostering shoppers and diners to the area, with the city providing the hive but businesses creating the honey.
Each gathering will have a different feature on The Green, with plans including a cornhole tournament, outdoor movie screening, a car show, art show and other features that will draw crowds to the area.
“People might initially start their evening on The Green, but then they might wind up in a clothing boutique or restaurant,” LaDart said. “At that point we kind of put the ball in the businesses court and see what they are going to do to draw people in.”
While it remains to be seen how much of a boost Meet Me in Milton will provide the city’s businesses, hopes remain high.
“We’re are exited to see what happens and what the response is,” LaDart said. “We don’t really know because we have never done anything like this before, but we feel this is an opportunity Milton businesses can take advantage of, and residents will invest in coming to Milton, bringing their friends, and create that opportunity.”
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