DeKalb County is about to turn 200 years old

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Preparations are underway for DeKalb County’s bicentennial commemoration.

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond announced the establishment of a DeKalb Bicentennial Commission that will lead a yearlong series of events that will commemorate and celebrate the county’s 200-year history.

The bicentennial commemoration will officially begin on Dec. 9, 2022, the 200th anniversary of the founding of DeKalb County, according to CEO Thurmond’s 2022 midyear budget amendment recommendation to the Board of Commissioners.

“History teaches us that common purpose is the secret sauce that inspires and empowers mankind to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles,” said CEO Thurmond. “We must embrace this unique opportunity to demonstrate how people of different races, creeds and colors can celebrate and learn from our illustrious and sometimes painful history.”

Recommended initiatives designed to preserve, celebrate and commemorate DeKalb County’s heritage and history include:

  • Hiring historic preservation professionals to evaluate and plan for the restoration of the DeKalb Historic Courthouse, our county’s Crown Jewel, which houses the DeKalb History Center.
  • Continue the implementation of a DeKalb Bicentennial Beautification Plan that includes revitalization of major gateways and arterial roadways throughout unincorporated county.
  • Eligible homeowner associations will be able to apply for incentive grants to fund entryway landscape improvements and refurbished signage.
  • Inventory and expansion of DeKalb’s officially designated historical landmarks.
  • Countywide assessment of other historically significant landmarks and sites.

Other highlights of the budget amendment include:

  • Increasing the projected fund balance, or “rainy-day fund,” by $20 million to $142 million or 2.2 months of recurring expenses.
  • $4.4 million for Voter Registration and Elections to prepare of November 2022 General Election
  • $1.9 million to enhance security in the DeKalb Courthouse.
  • $4.5 million for Roads and Drainage Division to replace and repair deteriorating stormwater drainage system.
  • $2.7 million for Transportation Division.

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