ELLIJAY, Ga. – “This is the kind of project that will spread prosperity throughout our entire region. It is the kind of skin-in-the-game project that deserves support…” Georgia Speaker of the House, David Ralston praised the CORE Facility in Ellijay who hosted their official ribbon-cutting today.
Nestled just off Maddox Drive on the banks of the Coosawattee River in Ellijay, Georgia, the CORE Facility hosts business offices and incubation locations for entrepreneurs and start-ups in need of an office or workspace without the hassles of long-term investment.
However, the facility’s impact reaches so much farther than the city limits or the county’s borders. Today marked a celebration for the region and for the state. Representatives statewide joined together for this ribbon cutting including Gilmer Commission Chairman Charlie Paris, Gilmer Post Commissioner Karleen Ferguson, Pickens Commission Chairman Rob Jones, Fannin Commission Chairman Stan Helton, Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston, State Senator Steve Gooch, State Representative of District 11 Rick Jasperse, Ellijay City Mayor Al Hoyle, Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs, and many representatives from the Ellijay and East Ellijay City Councils and Gilmer Board of Education. Efforts from many organizations have led into combined organizations such as the Greater Gilmer Joint Development Authority (JDA) and the Greater Gilmer Community Foundation.
That Foundation was the birthplace of the initiative to build CORE. According to Kent Sanford, Executive Director of the Greater Gilmer JDA and part of the Greater Gilmer Community Foundation, a 14-month birth cycle has finally come to full fruition.
While the celebration was a culmination of efforts so far, it is only the beginning. It is a project that holds great impact on the future, according to Ralston who said, “It will create jobs in our area. The jobs of tomorrow will be possible because of the work that goes on in this building.”
Ralston also dedicated support to the facility as he announced, “Because of the local commitment to the CORE building the State of Georgia, through our OneGeorgia Authority, is awarding $420,000 to this project to be used for Facility purchase and improvement costs. This $420,000 grant is historic, both in terms of its dollar amount and the impact it will have on this project and community.”
Ralston continued speaking about the economic development and job creation in the county before offering the second announcement of the day regarding the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation, also known as Georgia’s Rural Center.
Ralston stated at the ribbon-cutting, “I am proud to announce that the new North Georgia of the Georgia Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation will be housed right here in Ellijay in this facility. The office will be led by Janet Cochran.”
Ralston’s office later offered a full Press Release on the announcement stating the center serves as a central information and research hub for rural best practices, including community planning, industry-specific assistance and cooperative efforts with community partners. The center was proposed by the House Rural Development Council in 2017 and was created by House Bill 951, which was enacted in 2018.
These announcements were applauded by those present and praised by the Chairman of the Gilmer Chamber, John Marshall, who said, “Mr. Speaker, once again you have proven yourself to be the very epitome of a stalwart and faithful advocate not only to your hometown and all the other communities in these beautiful North Georgia Mountains, but to each and every corner of the state of Georgia.”
President of the Gilmer Chamber, Paige Green also praised the facility as the realization of a dream for the community that has spread to benefit not only one county but something larger that now spans the region.
Today was a celebration of completing the first steps of a larger plan for the facility. Though it is now open, it is only the first phase of that dream. Director Sanford noted last year that the hopes for the facility include two more phases.
In Phase II, the foundation will continue renovation onto the second floor to open up a larger area 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 be finalized.
Ultimately, the CORE wants to continue spreading and growing this larger community where possible. Opportunities that may come have yet to be revealed, but one ribbon-cutting today, one celebration, can lead to something bigger than imagining tomorrow.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – December saw six new members inducted into Gilmer County’s Hall of Fame between Friday’s, December 7, Girls and Boys Basketball games.
Celebrating the accomplishments of these people both during and after high school, the ceremony honored these individuals and their families. Coming from several different walks of life and spreading to even more after high school, Gilmer welcomed these stars home to the Gilmer’s Court for the special day.
Donna Cowart Mousa was in the Class of 1978. She played Basketball, Track, and Tennis. Named as the GHS Basketball MVP for 3 years, she was also voted as Most Athletic Female during her Senior Year. She was later awarded a scholarship to Clemson University where she lettered in Basketball and Field Hockey. She joined All ACC Field Hockey for three years and was named as an All American Honorable Mention for Field Hockey.
Pam Gibson was in the Class of 1987. She played Basketball, Tennis, and Softball. Named to All State Basketball in 1987, she also became GHS Lady Cats Player of the Year in both 1985 and 1987. She was also awarded Top GHS Female Athlete of the Year in 1985. She was Basketball Team Captain in 1986 and Co-Captain in 1987. Gibson achieved Top 8 in AA State Singles Tennis Tournament in 1985. She was later awarded a scholarship to Troy State University where she became a Freshman Starter averaging 15 points-per-game.
Mike Brumby was in the Class of 1988. He played Football, Basketball, Baseball, and Golf. Named All State Honorable Mention for Football in 1987, he was also named All State Honorable Mention for Basketball in 1988. Receiving several GHS Awards in both football and basketball, he became the GHS Basketball Player of the Year in both 1987 and 1988. He is currently a Whitepath Golf Club Pro in Gilmer County.
Candy Pankey Ledford was in the Class of 1993. She played Basketball, Softball, Tennis, Track, and Cross Country. Named Second Team All State Basketball in both 1992 and 1993, she also was awarded the GHS Female Athlete of the Year Awards in both 1990 and 1991. She also received the GHS Most Athletic Female Award in 1993. She was later awarded a scholarship to Reinhardt College from 1993 to 1995 and was then awarded a scholarship to Augusta State College from 1996 to 1998.
Neil Gary was in the Class of 1997. He played Football and Wrestling. Named State Wrestling Champion in both 1996 and 1997, he also achieved a total Career Wrestling Record of 63-22 with 41 career pins. He also was named GHS MVP in Wrestling in 1995, 1996, and 1997. He later served eight years in the United States Marines and was Decorated for Valor in Iraq.
Robert “Bob” Becker is being inducted into the 2018 Support Category for achievements at GHS High School where he taught from 1977 to 2014. He was Public Address Announcer for Band, Football, Basketball, and Baseball. He holds degrees from Jacksonville State, Georgia State, and Lincoln Memorial. To this day, he says he is first to be known as a man of God.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – A single letter. One person’s thoughts is what ultimately led to a recent ceremony by the Board of Education to dedicate the auditorium at Ellijay Elementary School.
With the idea brought up in the Board’s meetings in recent months, Hefner’s family and the community of Gilmer County joined together to celebrate Hefner’s life and service in education.
Speaking at the event, Retired Superintendent Ben Arp said, “As I came to know Homer Hefner, I found him to have the traits of a good father.” He shared about Hefner’s lover for Esther, his wife, and how much it meant that Hefner was such a good example in his life.
He went on to speak of Hefner’s intensity and dedication through his life and how he took that through Gilmer High School, North Georgia College, and service in the United States Army. Returning to Ellijay after the Army, he came home to Ellijay to serve more through a 38-year career in education.
Hefner stretched through many facets of education as he served as a teacher, counselor, administrator, and, eventually, Superintendent.
Arp said it was Hefner’s leadership that was an integral part of Gilmer’s success during a changing and challenging time in education. Setting Gilmer as a beacon that many systems looked at and visited to learn from.
Also, Hefner received the Citizen of the Year Award in 1999. He was more than an educator as he volunteered in the community and organizations to grow Gilmer as a county alongside the education system.
The dedication ceremony also offered remembrance of Hefner with songs from the Ellijay Elementary School Choral students, led by Katie Mayfield, and a special plaque unveiled after the ceremony.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer Chamber welcomed another member this week with CF Printing and Promotions.
The Ribbon Cutting represented the opening of their new location in Jasper in the same lot as Appalachian Gun & Pawn, at 140 Shelby Lane. The official location is the latest step in the company’s growth as they not only spread business across county lines into Gilmer and the surrounding area, but also hosts a North Carolina office.
Commenting at their ribbon cutting, Keely Chalk said, “We do anything with your logo.”
Having started in the business over 20 years ago, Geoff Chalk meets in person with clients to maintain a face to face connection with people instead of an online-only separation.
Check out the Gilmer Chamber’s video of the ribbon cutting below or see more photos on the FYN Facebook Page.
A groundbreaking ceremony for Cornerstone Baptist Church was held Sunday, October the 2nd 2011 at the site where the Church building once stood and will soon stand again. Following a wonderful Worship service in the “temporary” building many gathered for the celebration of a new beginning for Cornerstone.