HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee Downtown Development Authority Chairman Herb Bruce announced at city hall this week that a zone for economic development has been established in Hiawassee, and shared ideas for annual events that will help the city prosper.
“We have the Development Zone which we approved to coincide with the Hiawassee Rural Zone, and this is a focus area that the Development Commission is working towards,” Bruce said. “It’s basically from the (Hiawassee) Antique Mall…to the Georgia Vision Center. We applied for this and we applied with a larger zone and was disapproved so we narrowed it down a little and now it is approved. This basically gives us the power to offer economic incentives that the city can’t.”
Bruce stated that the DDA has applied for a $500,000 grant in order to secure operating capital, adding that there are additional grants that the DDA can apply for.
“One of the things that came up out of the last meetings is that we wanted to come up with something that would be an annual event for the city that’s not currently going on,” Bruce said. “Turns out there’s a food truck tour where other cities have done very well this. They bring food trucks in as part of another activity. So we’re looking at that in conjunction with perhaps doing movies at the beach, maybe a chili cookoff, these types of things. But we want something that will be an annual event that will be a fundraiser, even though we don’t see a whole lot of funds coming out of this, but hopefully, it will be great for the city.”
According to the Georgia Municipal Association, DDAs and their appointed boards are created to revitalize and redevelop the central business districts of cities in Georgia. DDA training provides local leaders with the skills and knowledge they need to ensure a healthy, vibrant downtown. DDAs have a range of powers which include: developing and promoting downtowns; making long-range plans or proposals for downtowns; financing (by loan, grant, lease, borrow or otherwise) projects for the public good; executing contracts and agreements; purchasing, leasing or selling property; and issuing revenue bonds and notes.
Feature Image: Hiawassee DDA Chairman Herb Bruce