Featured Stories, Press Release

PRESS RELEASE – The Hiawassee Downtown Development Authority (DDA) announced that it has recently raised $117,000 to benefit the Paris Business Center (PBC).  

On July 15, at the Ridges Resort on Lake Chatuge, the DDA hosted more than 700 people for a night of music and a silent auction that included baskets, gift certificates and international travel. “This was a wonderful evening and while the DDA board has not yet voted to hold a similar event in 2024, it’s likely a repeat will take place,” said Denise McKay, director of economic development for Hiawassee, Young Harris and Towns County. “The feedback from our surveys showed everyone really enjoyed the evening and while there are always things we can improve, the overall response was it was an outstanding event for a good cause.” 

In addition, the DDA was recently notified that it won a grant from the USDA in the amount of $92K for the furnishings and electronics needed for the Paris Business Center. The DDA submitted the paperwork in Feb. of 2023 and committed to matching $10K in DDA funds. The grant is part of the Rural Business Development Grant program, which is designed to provide technical assistance and training for small rural businesses. Small is defined as a business with fewer than 50 new workers and less than $1 million in gross revenue. 

“This is the second grant received from the USDA for the Paris Business Center,” said McKay. “The first grant was for $67K to stabilize the two historic buildings. We are so grateful to the USDA for its continued support of the DDA and the region’s small businesses.” 

The PBC is the first, and only, full-service, regional business development center, serving North Georgia, and parts of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. The PBC office will be in one of two newly renovated historic buildings in downtown Hiawassee (estimated opening date early 2024.) The PBC and its partners help new or existing businesses start, expand, or retain their company through development of business plans; classes in marketing, bookkeeping, human resources, management; as well as helping with finding financing options. The PBC currently serves clients through the Economic Development Office located in Hiawassee City Hall. 

The Hiawassee Downtown Development Authority was formed by the Hiawassee City Council in 2019 and was established for the purpose of furthering the economic development of our lake and mountain paradise while preserving Hiawassee’s history and serving its citizens and visitors alike.

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