ELLIJAY, Ga. – New life is springing from an older foundation in Gilmer County this week with the CORE Facility on River Terrace, just off of Maddox Drive.
Called the CORE (Collaboration on River’s Edge), the facility will host business offices and incubation locations for entrepreneurs and start-ups in need of an office or workspace without the hassles of long-term investment. Created by the Greater Gilmer Community Foundation, Kent Sanford Executive Director of the Greater Gilmer JDA (Joint Development Authority) and member of the Greater Gilmer Foundation, tells FYN the idea began with a visit to Carrollton, Georgia. Inspecting a business incubation center there, he began dwelling on the idea.
However, concerns about the project’s feasibility in Ellijay stalled the idea and the plans never saw action. Seven years have passed since the idea began at Carrollton and the Greater Gilmer Foundation was created. Now, as Sanford noticed the building for sale on River Terrace, the owner, Edgar Land, originally wanted to sell the place. Kent says negotiations allowed them to lease-purchase the building and begin renovations to revolutionize the early life of small businesses in our area. Sanford went on to say the just like in fitness when they say strength comes from your core, “CORE will be where the future strength of Gilmer County comes from.”
While the facility will host 13 offices and 2 conference rooms during its launch by the end of the first quarter in 2019, Sanford says the facility will be both an incubator for new businesses and a co-working space for small businesses.
As an incubator, CORE stands to be a resource center for new businesses. As they take up residence in an office, they will grow and learn through cooperation with the foundation and educational sessions the CORE facility puts on. Additionally, the future plans of the CORE facility would also provide for business mentors to advise these start-ups on everything from day-to-day operations to faculty to financial decisions.
Sanford went on to say, “Not only are incubated businesses about twice as successful as ones that don’t have that mentoring help, but you also have about 80% of all businesses that start in a community stay in that community.”
As a co-working space, CORE will provide an office to a small business that may not need much space, but does need something like access to better internet than they may have at home. With utilities and furnishings provided by the CORE facility, this could give small businesses access to larger benefits to better present themselves to clients. With conference rooms and special areas available for scheduling, it also provides the amenities of a large office to be shared among those in office.
The amenities would not just be for those residing in the office spaces, though. Sanford says they are looking at a membership idea for other businesses with their own small offices that may still be in need of space temporarily for training seminars or business conferences. Looking past the businesses, Sanford said that other things like civic clubs and organizations could also find a use for the spaces.
The idea flows that as new and old businesses alike start to grow in the CORE facility, they would reach a point and need for larger space, as the move to other larger locations, the offices open up to other new businesses.
Additionally, Sanford says he hopes to see a variety of businesses utilizing the space to grow so that they benefit each other. For example, one Accountant next to a web designer could share services providing financial services o the web designer and a website for the accountant. In this way, the community feeds itself and strengthens each while maintaining close proximity for convenience.
Sanford also noted that the resource center was not just for Gilmer County businesses. He wants CORE to become a Regional Resource for Fannin, Pickens, and Gilmer for those who need only to drive a short time to take advantage of the CORE facility.
Working on their fundraiser right now, the Foundation hopes to see three phases of the CORE facility.
In Phase I, the renovations will complete with the fundraising and open to the public by the end of the first quarter in 2019.
In Phase II, the foundation will continue renovation onto the second floor to open up a larger open space for education and training in a 1,200 square foot space upstairs.
In Phase III, hopes for the CORE Facility could extend into the schools for things like STEM Classes, STEM Saturdays, or other forays into education connection. Consolidating resources for these could include shared STEM kits or a shared expense for a STEM subscription service involving 3d-printing necessary components. However, specific details into PHASE III have yet to finalized, but Sanford said the general idea is to grow into partners in education in the county.
As a part of the connection for education and incubation for new businesses, Sanford says he hopes the facility will ultimately have a real impact on the growing trend of educated students leaving the community for careers elsewhere.
As it is still in the fundraising stage, plans for the facility could shift, but Sanford states he already has people looking to rent space in the building.
For more information on the campaign and growing the CORE Facility, contact the Greater Gilmer Foundation at 706-635-2673 or check out the Greater Gilmer website.
The Gilmer Bobcats have officially competed in their first wrestling tournament of the season, and it was a successful performance overall. The Cats have enough wrestlers to make up two separate varsity teams, and that’s exactly what they did as they took a team to compete in the Spartan Slam Invitational at West Hall while a second team traveled to Woodstock to compete in the River Ridge Varsity Duals.
The Spartan Slam Invitational boasts some of the toughest wrestling competitors in the state, with a 16-team turnout and so many wrestlers that the event had to limit individuals to only 5 matches.
The Cats finished 3rd overall (out of 16) and scoring was led by first place finishers Caleb Waddell (152lb class), Ryan Crump (195lb class) and Anthony Zilke (285lb class). A complete list of individual results is listed below.
Gilmer coach Joshua Ghobadpoor was pleased with the effort of his wrestlers and excited about the future. “We wrestled hard and with a purpose, team atmosphere was great, and we had success,” Ghobadpoor told his team after the meet. “[We] still have a lot we can improve upon which is a great position to be in! Couldn’t be more proud of the effort that was displayed by all our wrestlers!”
– Varsity Team #1: Spartan Slam Invitational Results:
Team took 3rd overall.
113: Gabe Reimer: 5th Place
120: Logan Bentley: 2nd Place
126: Cameron Martin: 7th Place
132: Javier Jacinto: 2nd Place
132: Tristain Kendall: 3rd Place
138: Alex Repetin: 3rd Place
145: Hoyt Stover: 4th Place
152: Caleb Waddell: 1st Place
160: Chase Calvert: 8th Place
170: Grant Ledford: 3rd Place
182: Chad Weaver: 3rd Place
195: Ryan Crump: 1st Place
285: Anthony Zilke: 1st Place
285: Jhaydon Ragsdale: 5th Place
– Varsity Team #2: River Ridge Varsity Duals Results:
*individual stats for this event not yet reported, but there were several wrestlers that were undefeated on the day
Overall Record: 3-2
– Dunwoody (Forfeited to us)
– North Gwinnett
Gilmer will compete on Tuesday in a Quad Match against Dawson County, Murray County, and Riverside Military Academy at Gilmer County High School.
During Thursday night’s June 9th Meeting, The Gilmer County Board of Commissioners heard input from citizens on the regulations for Gilmer County Rivers.
There were actually two separate items on the agenda to incorporate two changes the Commissioners were looking at for the county’s unincorporated rivers, meaning the sections of the river’s outside the city limits of Ellijay and East Ellijay.
The first change was to implement an ordinance regulating the entirety of the county’s rivers while also instituting a one dollar charge on the a specific section of the Cartecay involving the use of county owned land in the area as a take out point. The Commissioners were considering this charge to be specifically dedicated to installing and maintaining a bathroom and changing facility at the take-out location. Several people stood to speak in the hour long public hearing, all in opposition to the regulations.
Judy Oglesby spoke saying if the county wanted to continue encouraging new business in the county, they need to stop this ordinance and restrictions on the area.
Joene DePlanke agreed calling the ordinance “onerous” and asking for posting signs of potential rules such as glass or alcohol in several areas informing the citizens. She went on to say that the county should investigate ideas for donation collections in support of facilities at the location.
Woody Jensen of the Cartecay River Experience also indicated he felt his company was being unfairly targeted on the ordinance with the one dollar surcharge and questioned several details about the ordinance including how the county expected to collect the money, and who would enforce the new regulations imposed by the ordinance, going so far as to ask, “Are you going to have a Sheriff out on the river?”
Most of the continued comments fell in similar lines with the main focus of the people opposing the idea of a dollar “tax” as some of them called it.
As the regular meeting followed the public hearing, the commissioners took their turns to comment indicating their original plans for the ordinance, but agreeing with the people’s comments and suggestion. Post Commissioner Travis Crouch said this was the essential key to the County’s function and enjoyed hearing the public’s feedback on these issues.
Commission Chairman Charlie Paris also stated that with the public in such opposition, he had come to believe the ordinance was not the best plan moving forward. The failure of hearing a motion effectively ended the first ordinance.
However, the following discussion for the second river item on their agenda revolved around the possibility of bannin alcohol and glass on the river. A very different discussion saw people on both sides of the issues. Woody Jensen of the Cartecay River Experience suggested restricting the river to one zippered cooler on the river with people to help control the alcohol without an outright ban. One homeowner on the river disagreed siting several issues of lewd and inappropriate activity.
The Board of Commissioners ultimately elected to approve the alcohol ban, however. The ban is issued immediately with the Chairman Paris set to collaborate with the River outfitters on the construction and placement of signs to indicate the new ban at several locations.
While nothing was set specifically for the construction of facilities at the County’s take-out location, Post Commissioner Travis Crouch did indicate his interest in exploring the idea as proposed by the citizens in hopes to see the area improved for both tourists and citizens alike.