ATLANTA - Business owners call parts of downtown Atlanta a ghost town, but some city leaders want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to change that.
"To have a downtown in a major city like this that is dead, there's no reason for it, and it's embarrassing," said Bruce Teilhaber, owner of Friedman's Shoes on Mitchell Street.
Teilhaber has been on Mitchell Street for 58 years, but it’s nearly empty, even during the lunch hour. He and his son, Brett, said they remain open because of a booming catalog business, but walk-in traffic has basically stopped.
"Now, you can go to Mitchell or Spring (Street), throw a bowling ball and not hit anybody," his son said.
The city of Atlanta is looking at changing that and investing $500,000 to develop a plan to bring back people and jobs.
"We have all these wonderful things happening in downtown Atlanta, but really not a lot of synchronization," Atlanta City Councilman H. Lamar Willis told Channel 2’s John Bachman.
Willis proposed the development plan. He said for $500,000, the city can get the right people to synchronize development around upcoming projects including, the new Falcons stadium, the Civil Rights museum, and the College Football Hall of Fame. With a plan in place, Willis believes developers will build out from there.
"So they can know what they're going to get from us and know what this city has to offer them," Willis said.
The Teilhabers said it’s long overdue.
"It would revitalize us. It'd be like somebody giving you blood. It'd make me breathe again, it'd keep me working another 58 years," Teilhaber said.
Willis said if passed, he hopes the development plan could be done in six months.