By Jason A. Smith
McDONOUGH — Streets in downtown McDonough will be closed in the coming days due to film production at the Welcome Center and the Square.
Tyler Perry Studios is filming scenes for “A Madea Christmas” in and around McDonough this week and next week. City spokeswoman Casey Case said there will be a disruption in traffic flow in the downtown area next week.
Digital message boards will be placed at all routes leading into the Square beginning Thursday. Griffin Street from Jonesboro Street to Hampton Street will be closed to vehicular traffic Jan. 23-24 from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m intermittently. Streets that will be closed from noon to 3 a.m. intermittently during that time are:
• Macon Street from Keys Ferry Street to John Frank Ward Boulevard;
• Hampton Street/Keys Ferry Street from Tarpley Street to Macon Street;
• Jonesboro Road/John Frank Ward Boulevard from Tarpley Street to Macon Street.
City officials have released a map outlining where detour signs will be posted during filming, said Business Development Director Adam Causey.
“The film shoot will only take up one full day, though weather and other scheduling delays require contingency planning for other days,” he said. “The sidewalks and merchants will be open to the public, though film crew staff may request visiting pedestrians to move or wait at times so as not to interfere with certain scenes.”
Causey said on-street parking spaces around the Square will not be available but the parking deck on Lawrenceville Street will be open.
Doug Zitz, owner of Pasta Max Cafe at 50 Griffin St., said the filming has been good for businesses downtown.
“I can’t complain,” he said. “It adds some excitement to the area.”
Drivers traveling on Griffin Street near the Square were seen contending with production trucks, trailers and vans while navigating their way through the downtown area since last Wednesday.
Still, Zitz said, the filming hasn’t hurt his business — and may have actually helped it.
“There were a lot of people around,” said Zitz. “Some of them were extras and there were spectators.”
Crews were filming scenes for the movie in Butts County Wednesday, said Case.
Stacy Cronan, sales representative at F&F Flooring at 45 Griffin St., first learned about the movie in November, when a film producer visited the store. She said the filming has been positive for businesses.
“It allowed traffic to slow up in front of the businesses,” said Cronan. “As they’re waiting, they’re able to pay closer attention to what’s going on.”
Cathy Lacey is an information specialist for the Main Street McDonough Program. She said some customers have had problems getting around downtown due to film production.
However, she said that isn’t the only concerns residents are voicing.
“I do have a lot of people saying, ‘When are you going to take down your Christmas decorations?’ ” said Lacey.
Holiday decorations have remained up, Lacey said, because the crews are scheduled to continue filming Christmas scenes next week on the Square.
“Some of it has to do with the weather as to whether they can film or not,” said Lacey.