Dawson ec dev

A really big check. Representatives (listed left to right) pose with $50,000 grant check presented to the Development Authority of Dawson County. (Daniel Martin, Director of Economic Development, GA Mountains Regional Commission; Brian Trapnell, Chairman, Development Authority of Dawson County; Annaka Woodruff, Program Manager, Appalachian Regional Commission; Betsy McGriff, Economic Development Director, Dawson County Chamber; Christie Moore, President, Dawson County Chamber; Billy Thurmond, Chairman, Dawson County Board of Commissioners; Mike Eason, Mayor, City of Dawsonville;) Photo courtesy of Dawson County Development Authority.

Dawson Development Authority receives $50,000 grant for economic development strategic plan

By Denise Ray
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Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) presented the Development Authority of Dawson County with a check for $50,000 November 14 to support the completion of an economic development strategic plan. The presentation occurred during the November meeting of the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission, held at the Atlanta Motorsports Park in Dawsonville.

The check represents half of the funding for a grant project that supports the development of a professional strategic plan for economic development for Dawson County.

The strategic plan will include several components:

  • a target industrial analysis to encourage the attraction of high-quality jobs
  • an analysis of potential locations and infrastructure needs for future light industrial and office growth
  • a strategy to maintain the destination retail position the county holds
  • recommendations for green/open space acquisition.

Community engagement will be a key element throughout all stages of plan development when completed.

The development authority has been working behind the scenes with the Dawson County Chamber to develop a comprehensive, strategic approach to economic efforts, said Brian Trapnell, development authority chairman.

Trapnell added that he is pleased that the ARC has recognized the efforts put forth and the county’s potential by funding a substantial portion of Dawson County’s strategic planning process.

The result will be a professional developed, multi-year document that will outline how the county can grow as a community while maintaining the quality of life that is important to Dawson residents and businesses, Trapnell said.

“The future of economic development and the resulting opportunities for our residents in our community is bright and the ARC grant is one more exciting step in helping us more forward to that future,” Trapnell said.

The Georgia Mountains Regional Commission (GMRC) is a strategic partner of the development authority and the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce and assisted in the writing of the grant.

The work of ARC serves to strengthen the economy and improve living standards in the Appalachian region of 420 counties and 13 states. It has funded projects over the years that have supported job creation, encouraged business development, increased education and job training opportunities and improved telecommunications, infrastructure and transportation in the Georgia Mountains Region.

In the last five years, ARC has invested $6 million in funding and has leveraged $7.8 million in local funds, created 1,089 jobs retained 685 jobs and generated $218 million in private investment for the region.

The Development Authority of Dawson County issued a request for proposals for the development of the strategic plan, the first of its kind for this community, in October 2019 and expects to select a firm by December. The planning process and community engagement sessions will begin in January 2020. The final plan is expected to be delivered in August 2020.

The GMRC Economic Development Division assists communities with economic and community development, asset-based development, social infrastructure, physical infrastructure and workforce development needs that lead to the creation and maintenance of employment opportunities for residents, a strong tax base for local governments and a safe, secure and viable community.

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