HIAWASSEE, Ga – Restoring the Paris Business Center and associated grant costs became the main subject of discussion during the February city council meeting.
Hiawassee City Council and downtown development authority (DDA) entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for management of the Paris Business Center.
In other words, the DDA operates the Paris Business Center, but the city owns the building. By approving the MoU, they can proceed forward with the ARC grant application for $600,000.
If approved, the city would match 30 percent of the $600,000, approximately $180,000.The buildings’ appraisal was set at $135,000, Mayor Ordiales said on November 25, 2020, although $36,000 was “donated to the city” by Dan Paris, reducing the city’s cost to $99,000. Through additional architecture and environmental studies, the remaining match around is around $60,000.
USDA Rural Development Grant issued Hiawassee a roof and stabilization grant for $68,000.
“We’ve got that money. I’ve been working very hard… who’s going to turn down $180,000 to get $600,000 for free,” Mayor Liz Ordiales explained.
The overall project is estimated to be $1.2 million, and the DDA set a fundraising goal of $1.5 million. They also hired a consulting coach to help them raise the money for the Paris building renovations. It’s not their intention to leave the city holding the bag if they can’t raise funds.
At the end of 2020, the DDA raised $7,600 for the project within three weeks. They also have a fundraising workshop planned for February.
The DDA can’t apply for grants. If they see an applicable grant, it must be presented to the council and approved as a resolution.
The fee schedule for the alcohol ordinance was also approved; nothing changed cost-wise.
Also, the cars were approved for the February 20 auction: Crown Victoria, Toyota Camry, and Ford 150. They also discussed adding the Dodge Charger to the list because of the cost associated with fixing it. In the future, the city and police department plan to return to Ford Explorers. They’ve experienced too many issues with Dodge Chargers, but if they don’t receive enough money from the sale, they won’t purchase a new car.
The seven-day update for Towns went up 50 percent with 36 news cases, and the positivity rate came in at 23 percent. COVID-19 testing went down 20 percent of all the hospital beds are COVID-19 related with eight new hospitalizations.
The health department offers vaccinations when available at the recreation center. Patients must make appointments beforehand.
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
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) met Monday, Oct. 15, at Hiawassee City Hall to plan the revitalization stages of the city’s economic structure. Joint Economic Developer Denise McKay, along with DDA Chairman Herb Bruce, Tamela Cooper, Maggie Oliver, and Lindie Wright were in attendance.
A beautification goal for murals to grace the sides of local businesses is progressing with two locations tentatively identified. The cost to the city of Hiawassee will amount to approximately $3,000, McKay said. Minor changes were adjusted in the DDA bylaws, and the fiscal year was adapted to coincide with the city of Hiawassee’s audit period of July 1 through June 30. DDA directors who do not attend four consecutive meetings will forfeit their position on the board. A quorum, defined as the minimum number of members of an assembly that must be present at any of its meetings to make the proceedings of the session valid, was determined to amount to the majority of DDA directors.
Objectives for use as marketing material were discussed in the form of a brainstorming session. DDA directors seemingly agreed that a “visually appealing city” would draw additional business to the area, aiding in the creation of a “cute, little downtown.” The board members noted a need for after-hour businesses, such as restaurants and a tempered, nightlife atmosphere. City “walkability” was a factor in the forum. Activities for youth were mentioned, and target audiences from two separate age groups- 16 to 40-year-olds and 40 to 80-year-olds – were formed.
The city’s DDA was created to operate in conjunction with Hiawassee’s strategic plan. The future meeting schedule and ideas for activities and fundraisers were listed under new business. In addition to the members present at Monday’s session, Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales, Teresa Andretta, and Judith Weible form the city’s DDA. Mayor Ordiales was out-of-town, and could not attend Monday’s meeting.
Feature Image: Hiawassee DDA Chairman Herb Bruce at the Oct. 15 meeting.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Seven directors were recently selected to serve on Hiawassee’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA), and the city has planned a public meet and greet with the appointed board members tomorrow evening, prior to the council’s 6 p.m. work session.
“On Monday, Aug. 26 at 5:30 p.m. there will be a special meeting (meet and greet) with the members of the newly formed Downtown Development Authority and the City Council of Hiawassee in the Council Chambers at City Hall,” City Clerk Bonnie Kendrick said. “Refreshments will be served. At 6 p.m. the DDA will be presented with their information packages and date of first official regular meeting, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019 at 6 p.m. at Hiawassee City Hall.”
The DDA board of directors are:
Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales
According to the Georgia Municiple 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.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – As the City of Hiawassee continues its pursuit to activate and institute a Downtown Development Authority (DDA), establishing a geographical Rural Zone Designation for economic development is a key factor in the process. FetchYourNews filed an open records request with the City of Hiawassee following a public announcement by Economic Developer Director Denise McKay stating that 209 properties had been identified by the city government as potential redevelopment sites.
The properties on the City of Hiawassee’s list of proposed locations include numerous occupied buildings and several residential homes in the area. A full copy of the properties is available: Rural Zone (Click to view document)
The DDA is primarily a policy-making and major decision-making entity that plans and manages the downtown area. The DDA is a corporate body recognized by state law, and it is eligible to receive certain grant funding, whereas, a local business or merchants association may not qualify. From an Internal Revenue perspective the DDA is considered to be governmental tax-exempt. The DDA can utilize a variety of financing tools outlined in the Official Code of Georgia. Funding created from the implementation of the measures can be used in a number of ways to bring about revitalization and economic development of the central business district.
The DDA can work with volunteers from the local business association, citizens, the city and county to
bring about the revitalization of the downtown area, or depending upon a set of criteria for qualification, a
DDA may choose to initiate a Main Steet Affiliate, as the City of Hiawassee has opted, or a Better Home Town Redevelopment Program.
The DDA must be activated by the city government prior to functioning. This is accomplished by first designating the downtown area boundaries with the city; appointing the initial directors of the authority; creating a resolution which also declares that there is a need for such an authority; pass the resolution, and file copies of the resolution with the Secretary of State and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
The DDA law states that the authority shall consist of a board of seven directors. The directors must be taxpayers residing in the county in which the authority is located. At least four of the directors must also be owners or operators of downtown businesses. Directors of authorities created under the DDA law are appointed by the governing body of the municipality. Directors will be required to attend and complete at least eight hours of training on downtown development and redevelopment programs.
Hiawassee City Council members are currently in the process of selecting and submitting their choice of board appointees to Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales. Once the body is formed, the authority can undertake commercial, business, office, industrial, parking, or public projects if it claims to benefit the downtown district.
The following are powers that are specifically provided to the DDA created under the Downtown Development Authorities Law of 1981:
1. To sue and be sued.
2. To adopt and to change, as necessary, a corporate seal.
3. To make and execute contracts and other agreements, such as contracts for construction, lease or
sale of projects or agreements to finance projects.
4. To purchase and own property, real or personal, and to sell or otherwise dispose of property, lease or rent property. The authority’s property is tax-exempt.
5. To finance projects by loan, grant, lease or otherwise.
6. To finance projects using revenue bonds or other obligations of authority.
The establishment of Hiawassee’s Rural Zone Designation is expected in October. Hiawassee City Council is scheduled to adopt the Downtown Development Activation Resolution Tuesday, Aug. 6, at 6 pm at city hall.
Feature Photo Credit: City of Hiawassee/Strategic Plan
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee City Council is scheduled to discuss a potential contract with Georgia Mural Trail at the monthly work session, Monday, Nov. 25, at city hall. “The Georgia Mural Trail was created by John W. Christian from the Go Georgia Arts,” Georgia Mural Trail explains. “Our studio is located in Hapeville, Ga. The Georgia Mural trail started as a five years commitment to paint fifty murals in fifty cities in five years. We focus is on smaller cities under 10,000 people. We also have a program for larger cities under 50,000 people. Our goal is to get other artists, organizations, and sponsors on board to help with the painting, funding, and marketing of the trail.”
Georgia Mountain Trail states its mission is “to create great art and help others create great art, one person or city at a time.” The goal is to link public artwork via a “trail” near welcome centers throughout Georgia, hugging the state’s border. The company says that while the design process involves months of planning, murals are typically completed within two weeks to a month of application.
“The Georgia Mural Trail first mural city was the city of Cave Spring. Even though there are hundreds of murals in the state. Our focus are smaller cities. We have painted murals in many other cities this one was the first under the mural trail concept. The mural trail concept is fluid and always changing and growing. We are always adding ideas to the trail. One thing you will notice is that the murals are getting much larger and more complex.”
Hiawassee’s Joint Economic Developer Denise McKay hinted at October’s Downtown Development Authority meeting that two location sites for murals had been tentatively identified, one being that of the building of the former “$2 store.”
Hiawassee City Council assembles for work sessions at 6 p.m. on the last Monday of each month.
Meetings are open to the public.
Feature Image: Georgia Mural Trail’s debut mural in Cave Spring, GA, created by a team of artists.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Joint Economic Developer Denise McKay announced before Hiawassee City Council Monday, July 29, that the City of Hiawassee, in cooperation with Towns County 911 Mapping, has identified 209 properties within the city limits to potentially develop as commercial enterprises. Defining a geographical area is a key component in advancing the city’s ‘Rural Zone Designation’ project. McKay described the border as located near Hiawassee Brew, situated east of city hall on State Route 76, and extending west to State Route 75 North, to additionally include “side roads.” Should the plan proceed, state approval of Rural Zone Designation is anticipated in October.
FetchYourNews (FYN) spoke with Towns County 911 Mapping Director Marty Roberts the following day, with Roberts informing that his department was requested to pinpoint the properties proposed by the City of Hiawassee, later referring McKay to the regional commission for further direction.
At the time of publication, FYN is awaiting open records from the City of Hiawassee to identify the precise locations of the parcels in question. FYN will provide additional information as it becomes available.
Mayor Ordiales added that the project will allow the city to “chase big entites” while providing “tax break” incentives to investment developers. “It opens a door to a lot of things,” the mayor said.
“Recognizing that many small, rural downtown areas have experienced varying levels of economic distress, DCA worked with the Georgia General Assembly to secure passage of a bill calling for the development of ‘Rural Zones,'” Georgia’s Department of Community Affairs (DCA) website explains. “The establishment of up to 10 zones per year will enable businesses and investors to obtain tax credits for qualified activities occurring within designated Rural Zones. DCA, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, will receive applications and designate zones each year to provide an incentive for job creation and private investment in the designated locations.
“The program includes three tax credit incentives: a Job Tax Credit, Investment Credit, and Rehabilitation Credit. The basic criteria required for communities seeking the designation include: having a population less than 15,000, having a core downtown area with structures older than fifty years, demonstrating blight or disinvestment in the downtown area, having implemented a strategic plan for the downtown area, and completing market analysis indicating gaps within the local business makeup.”
Economic Developer Denise McKay was selected by Mayor Ordiales, and jointly hired by the City of Hiawassee, the City of Young Harris, and Towns County as a whole in December, 2018.
Feature Photo: Economic Developer Denise McKay (Seated: Hiawassee Councilwoman Anne Mitchell)
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee City Council met for their monthly regular session Tuesday, June 4, passing a “Broadband Ready” ordinance, while delaying the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Activation Resolution listed on the agenda. FetchYourNews previously reported on the scheduled activation.
Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales explained the broadband ready ordinance. “It’s just a matter of getting us ready for when they start funneling out money for broadband for rural areas; we are set on go, we are ready to go,” Ordiales said.
DDA activation was postponed due to an absence of individuals who will serve as board members. “The object is to see if we can find folks that live in the city that also have businesses in the city. That’s ideal,” the mayor said. “That’s going to be tough to find, but that’s the key, what we are trying to do.” Mayor Ordiales noted that Councilwoman Amy Barrett was the sole official who has submitted potential candidates to fill positions.
According to the Georgia Municipal Association, “a DDA consists of a board of seven directors who are appointed by the municipal governing authority to serve staggered four-year terms. Directors are appointed by the governing body and must be taxpayers who live in the city or they must own or operate a business located within the downtown development area. They must also be taxpayers who live in the county in which the city is located. One of the directors can be a member of the municipal governing authority. Board members do not receive any compensation for serving on the DDA, except for reimbursement for actual expenses incurred in performing their duties With the exception of a member who also serves on the city council, all DDA board members must take at least eight hours of training on downtown development and redevelopment programs within the first 12 months of their appointment to the DDA.”
The DDA resolution, as presented to Hiawassee City Council, follows:
A RESOLUTION TO DECLARE THE, NEED FOR THE CREATION OF A DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY TO FUNCTION IN THE CITY OF HIAWASSEE, GEORGIA, PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITIES LAW O.C.G.A. Section 36-42-4, et seq. OF THE STATE OF GEORGIA; TO ACTIVATE SUCH DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY AND APPOINT A BOARD OF DIRECTORS FOR SAID DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY; TO AUTHORIZE SAID DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY TO EXERCISE THE POWERS CONTAINED IN SAID DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY LAW; TO PROVIDE FOR NOTICE TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE OF THE STATE OF GEORGIA AND THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AFFAIRS OF THE ADOPTION OF THIS RESOLUTION; TO REPEALS CONFLICTING RESOLUTIONS; TO PROVIDE FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES;
WHEREAS, the Mayor and Council have determined that it would benefit the city of activate the Downtown Development Authority for the City of Hiawassee, and
WHEREAS, the Mayor and Council, after thorough investigation, have determined that it is desirable and necessary that the Downtown Development Authority of the City be activated immediately, pursuant to the Downtown Development Authorities law;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Council of the City of Hiawassee, and it is hereby resolved by the same, that there is hereby determined and declared to be present and future need for a Downtown Development Authority (as more fully described and defined in the Downtown Development Authorities Law) to function in the City of Hiawassee.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that there is hereby activated in the City the public body corporate and polite known as the “Downtown development Authority of the City of Hiawassee the following named persons;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED That the Board of Directors hereinbefore appointed shall organize itself, carry out its duties and responsibilities and exercise its powers and prerogatives in accordance with the terms and provisions of the Downtown Development Authorities Law as it now exists and as it might hereafter be amended or modified;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the “Downtown Development Area” shall align with the proper city limits as it now exists and as it might hereafter be amended or modified;
BEIT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of Hiawassee shall promptly furnish to the Secretary of State of the State of Georgia a certified copy of this resolution in compliance with the provisions of the Downtown Development Authority Lay;
Be IT FURTHER RESOLVED that any and all resolutions in conflict with this resolution be and the same are hereby release;
BE IT FURTHER Resolved that this resolution shall be effective immediately upon its adoption by the Mayor and Council of the City of Hiawassee and from and after such adoption the Downtown Development Authority of the City of Hiawassee shall be deemed to be created and activated.
Hiawassee City Council is scheduled to meet for their monthly work session Monday, June, 24 at 6 p.m. Work sessions are held in the upstairs training room at Hiawassee City Hall. Meetings are open to the public.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Directors of Hiawassee’s newly-formed Downtown Development Authority (DDA) gathered for a meet and greet with Hiawassee City Council Monday, Aug. 26. The DDA received information packets from Economic Developer Denise McKay, prior to the inaugural committee session scheduled for Monday, Sept. 16 at 6 pm at Hiawassee City Hall.
The selected DDA board of directors are:
- Herb Bruce
- Judith Wieble
- Tamela Cooper
- Lindie Wright
- Theresa Andrett
- Maggie Oliver
- Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales
According to the Georgia Municiple 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.
The inaugural meeting will consist of the election of a DDA chairperson, co-chairperson, and a secretary-treasurer. New business will include a review, discussion, and tentative modification of the authority’s bylaws, enactment of the DDA contract, and the establishment of the committee’s future meeting dates and order of business. In addition, a directors’ update will take place with discussion of Hiawassee’s strategic plan and upcoming DDA member training.
According to the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, the agency that assisted in formulating the city’s strategic plan, DDA training involves discussion of the responsibilities of development authority boards and the role that authorities serve within the local economic development process.
Basic training topics are listed as:
- legal issues
- conflicts of interest
- open records and open meetings requirements
- the basics of financing development authority operations
- strategic planning in community development
- project development and management
- emerging issues that affect development authorities
Building upon fundemental knowledge provided by basic training, an advanced course allows board members to refine their skills while executing the comprehensive plan of action for the community.
Hiawassee DDA meetings, as well as Hiawassee council sessions, are open to the public.
Feature Image: A portion of Hiawassee’s Strategic Plan is to revitalize commercial real estate.
Credit: City of Hiawassee/Carl Vinson Institute of Government
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee City Council, in cooperation with Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales and Economic Developer Denise McKay, are scheduled to activate the city’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) during their regular session, Tuesday, June 4, at Hiawassee City Hall.
According to FYN’s research into DDA board member training, the governing body of the city “activates” the DDA via an “activating resolution.” The General Assembly has already created a DDA for each Georgia municipality, although the DDA cannot transact any business, nor exercise any powers, until the city activates it. In the activating resolution, the city must designate the city’s downtown development area – which consists of the geographical jurisdiction of the DDA – and appoint initial directors.
“Wouldn’t it be nice to have every, single storefront filled? That’s my target,” stated Mayor Ordiales last week at the “Eggs & Issues” breakfast meeting.
Downtown Development Authorities (DDA) 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. According to the University of Georgia, 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.
Furthermore, a “Broadband Ready” ordinance is scheduled to go before the council Tuesday evening.
Hiawassee City Council convenes on the last Monday of each month for work sessions, followed by regular sessions the following Tuesday, at 6 p.m. Meetings are open to the public.
BKP sits down with Liz Ordiales, candidate for Hiawassee Mayor. She addresses several issues that have been discrepancies during her candidacy. Ms. Ordiales also tells viewers her reasoning for wanting to be the next Mayor of Hiawassee and gives us an insight to a few things she would like to accomplish if elected.
Check out the articles below that Candidate Ordiales addresses some issues with during this interview:
- Councilman Jay Chastain Jr. Endorses Barry Keith Dearing in Hiawassee Election
- Hiawassee Mayoral Candidate, Liz Ordiales, Rebukes Allegations
- Liz Ordiales Defends City Ordinance, Jay Chastain Jr. Questions Decision