There are a number of incentives available to help your new or existing business be successful in downtown Eatonton. From grants to tax credits, review the information below to see how we can help!

State of Georgia Department of Community Affairs

Rural Zone Designation, beginning January 1, 2020

The Rural Zone program targets rural downtown areas that have been adversely impacted by local economic conditions by creating Rural Zones and offering economic development incentives. It's goal is to establish an incentive program to stimulate investment, job creation, and economic development. Multiple sources can benefit – for instance, a single new coffee shop might provide job tax credits for the local business owner and an investment and rehabilitation credit to an urban investor.

The Job Tax Credit will be $2,000 per new full-time equivalent job per year, up to 5 years and not to exceed $200,000 total or $40,000 per year. New full-time equivalent job means an aggregate of employee worked hours totaling 40 hours per week between two or more employees.  At least two net, new full-time equivalent jobs must be created to qualify.  This credit is for the small business owner who opens a storefront and creates jobs.

The Investment Credit is for people who purchase a building downtown; it can't be taken unless jobs are created. It's equivalent to 25% of the purchase price, not to exceed $125,000 total or $25,000 per year. At least two net, new full-time equivalent jobs must be created and maintained to qualify for the investment credit. 

The Rehabilitation Credit is to offset development costs associated with the rehabilitation of a certified investor property; it's equivalent to 30% of the qualified rehabilitation, not to exceed $150,000 total or $50,000 per year. At least two net, new full-time equivalent jobs must be created and maintained to qualify for the rehabilitation credit. 

This is an amazing opportunity, and we're incredibly excited about the potential it has for our downtown. For additional information please email, or stop by City Hall to speak with the City Administrator. You can also review information about the program on your own: Eatonton presentation, brief fact sheet, rehab standards, and Rural Zone rules.


Federal Opportunity Zone Designation

Tax Credits
A specific area of Eatonton is designated as an Opportunity Zone. View the Opportunity Zone Map to see the eligible areas in the city. If your business is located within this zone, and you hire 2 or more employees, you may claim state tax credits up to $3,700 a year. Note this does not apply to Federal taxes and is a credit against your corporate state taxes. See Opportunity Zone brochure for additional details.

Low Interest Loans
There are several federal, state and city programs that can help you borrow funds at a favorable rate.

  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a Federal agency that administers programs that guarantee payment for loans secured from local banks. People’s BankFarmers & Merchants BankBankSouth, Exchange BankWellsFargo and BB& T are all SBA approved. Contact these banks directly for terms and conditions on low interest loans

  • The City of Eatonton has a Revolving Loan Fund that can lend money to small businesses for start-up or expansion. The fund balance varies as money is lent out and repaid. Contact the Eatonton City Administrator at (706) 485-3311 for details


Facade Grants
Are you making some improvements to the exterior of your building? Downtown Eatonton offers up to a 50% match on improvements to your building façade! There is a process to be followed; we recommend submitting an application and speaking with our Director or a Board member before beginning work. This allows us to help you with your application, and provide you with information regarding the historical characteristics of your building. 


Download an application here.

Contact the Downtown Eatonton Director for details by calling (706) 749-9150 or by emailing


Downtown Eatonton Media Welcome Package Certificates

This package, worth $2,000, is for new businesses location within two blocks of the courthouse square. All incentives must be used within six months, and are not redeemable for cash. Visit the Downtown Eatonton office, located in City Hall (201 N Jefferson Ave, Eatonton, GA), call 706-749-9150 to speak with the Downtown Eatonton Director, or email to review your eligibility and obtain the certificates, or contact the media outlets directly as indicated below.


The certificates entitle you to:

  • $1,000 advertising from Smith Communications, The Eatonton Messenger, Lake Oconee News, Jones County News, Baldwin Bulletin, Lakelife, Health and Fitness and Homefinder. Contact Heather Harris, 706-485-3501, extension 5

  • $500 advertising from Star Station. Contact Debra Baker, 706-485-8792

  • $500 advertising from the Union Recorder, Lake Oconee Breeze and Buyers Guide. Contact Keith Barlow, 478-452-0567

Additional incentives are available from the Eatonton-Putnam Chamber of Commerce. For information contact Brooke Barrett at 706-485-7701.

Federal New Markets Tax Credit

This tax credit is available to investors in Community Development Entities (CDEs) for qualifying investment the CDEs make in those businesses that are located in low-income communities. The best way to utilize this credit is to find an existing CDE that already has an allocation and convince them to loan the developer funds for a project, likely at a low interest rate.


  • Commercial real estate qualifies as a business for the purposes of CDE investments

  • Investment by the CDE can be in the form of a loan or equity

  • The CDE must receive allocation from the federal government for the credits

  • The CDE can provide the owner/developer an interest-only loan for 20% of the project cost which loan is “forgiven” after five years


  • Credit is equal to 49% of the amount of the CDE’s investment

  • 5% for each of the first three years

  • 6% for years four to seven

For additional information, visit U.S. Department of the Treasury's page. You can also visit the Downtown Eatonton office, located in City Hall (201 N Jefferson Ave, Eatonton, GA), call 706-749-9150 to speak with the Downtown Eatonton Director, or email


Putnam Development Authority

In addition to the above incentives, the Putnam Development Authority (PDA) has information on county and state level incentives. Visit the PDA web site for additional information, or call them at 706-816-8099.

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