The Greater Gilmer Joint Development Authority did not change officers during its first 2017 meeting retaining Travis Crouch as Chair and Lex Rainey as Vice Chair for the year as well as Gilmer Chamber Director Paige Green as Secretary/Treasurer.
The February Meeting was the first of the four quarterly meetings for 2017, and Executive Director Debbie Sadler reported updates for five current projects underway. One of which, referred to as Project FW could see foreign investments looking for a North Georgia possibility.
While most of the projects reports were kept secret in favor of investors anonymity and project security, including the potential of 16,000 square feet being looked at by the State of Georgia, one project that Sadler did open up with, Project Open World will see visitors from the Republic of Georgia on April 6th.
Gilmer County will be among several stops for the Representatives including three other counties and a visit to Atlanta, Ga according to Sadler. In addition to a presentation, lunch, and industry and business tours, she hopes to treat the visiting guests to a more hometown feel of our local agriculture as it is “first in driving Georgia’s economy.”
The JDA’s executive director is also being proactive in project research as she gave a report from a visit with Patriot Rail’s representative to discuss Gilmer County’s railways. During her report, Sadler stated that Patriot Rail gave a 45-day estimate to repair the railways in the county. However, this is simply a preemptive estimate to see what could be accomplished. If an interested entity would want to build in Ellijay, “there would have to be a company with enough shipments going by rail in order for Patriot Rail to consider renovating our current rails so they could connect heading to Atlanta.”
As the meeting moved into the Citizens Wishing to Speak section, The JDA heard local Ruth Caudell asking them to check for local possibilities for a walk-in clinic. Though she was assured they were continuing to look at options, Caudell asked the Board to “Please, don’t give up.”
Caudell further asked the Board to harbor cooperation and community with incoming Piedmont Healthcare’s Emergency Room. Secretary Paige Green did say that conversations with Piedmont have tended to show Piedmont invested in the area and the ER’s plan.
While citizens continue to worry about the county’s healthcare future, Piedmont has set a ribbon cutting date. The event will be held March 10 from 4:00-5:00p. While many echo Caudell’s comments of hope in the ER’s potential, it would seem that now it is Piedmont who needs to earn the trust of the citizens, the local government, and the businesses within Gilmer County.