The DeKalb Difference Blog


Award-winning DeKalb County is about to begin celebrating its Bicentennial amid major recognitions from top publications and organizations.

Nearly two hundred years into our county’s history, we’re seeing the results of our hard work in terms of our reputation as a great place to do business, our leadership and our wonderfully livable communities.

Here are a few ways DeKalb has been recognized recently and an update on how you can join us at our Bicentennial Celebration.


DeKalb County’s Bicentennial celebration kicked off on Friday, Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. in the historic DeKalb County Courthouse square to celebrate and recognize the 200th anniversary of the founding of DeKalb County.

“History teaches us that common purpose is the secret sauce that inspires and empowers mankind to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles,” DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said in his announcement of the Bicentennial plan. “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.”

DeKalb County celebrates and commemorates its heritage with these initiatives:

  • Our county’s crown jewel, the Historic DeKalb County Courthouse, which now houses the DeKalb History Center, will be restored with the help of historic preservation experts.
  • The DeKalb Bicentennial Beautification Plan aims to improve and maintain the appearance of the county’s major gateways and thoroughfares.
  • Homeowners’ associations who meet the requirements will be eligible to apply for incentive grants to pay for landscaping upgrades and upgraded signage for their front entrances.
  • DeKalb will inventory and expand its list of officially designated historic landmarks.


Decide DeKalb President Dorian DeBarr was selected by Georgia Trend as one the state’s 500 Most Influential Leaders. In its article about DeBarr, Georgia Trend wrote: “The DeKalb native wakes up every day excited to work with the community. ‘I do it because I love it.’ During the height of Covid, DeBarr spearheaded two business relief funds and grant programs in the county. In 2021, Decide DeKalb introduced the first Tax Allocation District under DeBarr’s leadership. Recently in April, DeBarr announced the largest economic development project in south DeKalb with the Shadowbox film studio expansion. The $400-million project will make the studio the largest in the southeast and bring 2,500 film and production jobs to the county, DeBarr says.”


Atlanta Regional Commission recently awarded Avondale Estates Town Green its “Great Place Award” as part of the 2022 Regional Excellence Awards, which honor visionary projects that are improving quality of life in communities across metro Atlanta.

According to the ARC award, “The City of Avondale Estates is a Tudor-inspired planned community known for developments that enhance quality of life for residents of all ages and abilities. With its inviting space for town activities, a designated area for food trucks, and a network of mixed-use paths that connect the greenspace to the commercial downtown district, the recently completed 2-acre Town Green furthers the city’s dedication to inclusive development.”

The ARC gave the award to the City of Avondale Estates and the Avondale Estates Downtown Development Authority and recognized the following partners: Fabric Developers, Long Engineering, PDC Solutions, Reeves Young Site Solutions, SOE/Stevens & Wilkinson.

DeKalb County is being recognized for how it works at creating prosperous communities with opportunities for all.


Hauling in even more accolades, Avondale Estates was recognized this year as having the best small town beer scene in America, beating out boutique beer hangouts like Hood River, Oregon, and Breckinridge, Colorado.

The bragging rights come from USA Today The publication says a panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Per the publication, “The charming town of Avondale Estates, just east of Decatur, has a small downtown area packed with unique food and beverage offerings. For beer lovers, there’s Wild Heaven Beer, The Lost Druid Brewery, My Parents’ Basement and Little Cottage Brewery.”

We couldn’t agree more with and we hope you’ll go try all of these amazing breweries.

For more information on how DeKalb County can help you, your company or your community thrive, email [email protected].