THOMASVILLE — April Norton, the city of Thomasville’s director of Downtown & Tourism Development, was recently named a 2021 Inspired Leader Award winner by the International Downtown Association. Founded in 1954, IDA is a resource center for ideas and innovative best practices in urban place management.

“This is an outstanding professional achievement for April and a credit to the leadership she provides to the city’s downtown and Tourism Development department,” Assistant City Manager Sheryl Sealy said in a news release. “April provides this area of our organization with an incredible amount of experience, knowledge, and initiative, and it shows in her daily efforts to both maintain and enhance our downtown and tourism initiatives.”

The Inspired Leader Award honors those who have shown clear achievements in recent years in addressing a broad range of issues impacting how people live, work and play in downtowns and city centers.

“Urban place management professionals like April are at the forefront of significant change throughout metropolitan areas around the world,” Sealy said. “This award honors April’s leadership within many of our projects and specifically highlights her efforts to execute the city’s Creative District Vision Plan and the 100th Annual Rose Show and Festival.”

“As a recognized leader in such a vibrant community, I am strengthened by my team and so fortunate to be surrounded by a passion-driven community of support for our dynamic city center,” Norton said. “The revitalization efforts of our team and the downtown mission are all to enhance the authentic identity and historic character of Downtown Thomasville. Not only does this effort lead to increased tourism, it creates movement and placemaking opportunities. I am truly honored to receive such a prestigious award from the International Downtown Association.”

“The Inspired Leader Award jury believed Mrs. Norton’s visionary leadership and remarkable character painted a picture of heart and respect for her community,” IDA President and CEO David Downey said. “IDA is pleased to honor April Norton for her continued contributions to her city.”

Norton has, Thomasville officials said, dedicated herself to the success of the city’s downtown, helping to maintain its position as a Georgia Exceptional Main Street program.

“April’s vision for downtown growth has led to many innovations, including the installation of electric vehicle charging stations throughout the downtown area and the revitalization of The Bottom District,” Sealy said. “She continually champions the importance of public and private investment in the downtown business district, and is a key part of our vision planning to spur economic development in the downtown area.”

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