Photo courtesy Latoya Cutts
The Jackson Redevelopment Authority recently named Latoya Cutts, a former downtown manager and head of development for the City of Albany, Ga., as the organization's new executive director. Cutts officially began her tenure with JRA on July 20.
As JRA's new executive director, Cutts will lead the organization's efforts on urban renewal and development in Jackson and help to create a strategic plan for future projects in places such as Union Station on Farish Street.
"I'll be working in conjunction with the local community to help them determine what's best for them and Jackson," Cutts says. "That includes the best type of businesses to bring in, what works well with all the buildings downtown and staying cohesive with other developments in the area. It's important for development to be a collaborative effort, and the strategic plan is vital for working with our community partners to have a positive impact."
Cutts was born in Americus, Ga., and graduated from Americus High School before enrolling at Georgia Southwestern State University, where she received a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1997. She later received a master's degree in management from Troy University in 2006 and a master's degree in real-estate development from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2019.
Prior to earning her master’s degree from Troy University, she worked as an assistant bank manager for Navy Federal Credit Union at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Ga., for roughly three years before she began working for the City of Albany as a business services coordinator for the city's Department of Community and Economic Development and later served as the department’s director.
The department also operated a small-business incubator program that Cutts oversaw. Startup businesses in the area could participate in the program and receive technical assistance, affordable rent and office space and training and loan programs.
While working for the City of Albany, Cutts oversaw street commercial development for new restaurants and retail, the Downtown Albany Museum of Art, a three-phase affordable housing development, a microbrewery and the conversion of a hotel into loft apartments.
"At some point in my life I realized that development work like affordable housing and building up downtown areas was the kind of work I love doing," Cutts says. "I saw what an idea can become and found that it was reassuring to make those ideas happen, to work with businesses and private owners to take their ideas into reality. Part of why I left Albany was the chance to do the same kind of work in a different city. There's a lot of opportunity to do meaningful work here in Jackson."
Cutts joined JRA after a national search that JRA Vice Chairman Alex Lawson Jr., City of Jackson officials and members of the Jackson community conducted.