EDGE Award to fund new airport terminal in Toccoa

Pictured from left: Angela Steedley, The Steedley Firm; Toccoa Mayor Ron Seib; Bob Davis, terminal project manager; Governor Sonny Perdue; John Taylor, Airport Authority Chairman; Cam Parker, SCDA Chairman; Tim Martin, SCDA Executive Director.

Excerpt from Governor's office press release regarding the recent EDGE award made to the Toccoa Airport Authority by the OneGeorgia Authority:

Toccoa-StephensAirportAuthority – Building Construction

Equity grant funds will be used to assist with construction of a 5,948 SF terminal facility at the Toccoa-Stephens County Regional Airport at R.G LeTourneau Field. Presently a small office within a privately-operated maintenance hangar serves as the airport terminal. The airport, located in the northeastern corner of the state, is centrally located near the Georgia and North/South Carolina borders and serves as a gateway to the Northeast Georgia Mountains. Statistics reflect that this Level II airport handles comparable traffic to other Level III airports (Cornelia, Blairsville) and is Georgia's northernmost airport before entering mountainous terrain, serving as a hub for Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountain tourist traffic. While neighboring Franklin and Hart Counties are served by two airports, neither have adequate facilities to welcome/meet prospective business clients. This proposed airport terminal will play a pivotal role in attracting regional business and tourism prospects to the Northeast Region. After losing 2,000+ furniture manufacturing jobs and similar amount of textile jobs, this region has adopted a plan to attract smaller diversified industry.

  • Equity Grant Award: $500,000 / Total Project Cost: $3.2 million

Stephens County Board of Education named a "School Board of Distinction"

The Stephens County Board of Education was selected as one of only six school boards in Georgia to receive the title of "School Board of Distinction". The award was made by the Georgia School Boards Association at its annual conference and honors school boards that achieve a number of benchmarks.

OneGeorgia Grant awarded

On Monday, December 7 a delegation from Toccoa-Stephens County travelled to Thomasville for the official awarding of a $500,000 OneGeorgia Authority grant to Toccoa's Airport Authority.

Pictured (from left): Cam Parker, Stephens County Development Authority; Bob Troup, City of Toccoa; Representative Michael Harden; Harold Andrews, Stephens County Commission; Senator Jim Butterworth; Dean Scarborough, Stephens County Commission; David Austin, City of Toccoa; A.J. Pavliscsak, City of Toccoa.

AM 630 WNEG receives award

Toccoa's local AM 630 WNEG radio and General Manager Phil Hobbs received the Beacon Award for Electronic Media support of public education in Georgia. The Stephens County School System nominated AM 630 WNEG for the award, which was made by the Georgia School Boards Association.

Developer Day series raises local and statewide awareness

The Stephens County Development Authority held its final 2009 Developer Day on December 3, the sixth event this year bringing statewide economic development project managers to the community on a development-focused tour. Five project managers from Georgia EMC, Electric Cities of Georgia, Georgia Department of Economic Development, and Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority toured the community. The trip showcased Stephens County’s development-ready sites, industrial buildings, work force, and leadership so as to help project managers better foster development in the area.

Former SCDA Chairman Bob Defenbaugh and Toccoa Falls College President Dr. Wayne Gardner served as the “chauffeurs” for the day. Nampac’s Plant Manager Michael Beecher led the group on a tour of the facility. They also viewed several available industrial buildings and sites in the Meadowbrook Industrial Park and Hayestone Brady Business Park. Liberty Elementary Principal Terri Powers gave them a tour of her Title I school. The project managers also got a glimpse at the natural sights of Toccoa with stops at Toccoa Falls and Paul Anderson Park.

Local leaders from the City, County, and regional government, healthcare, education, and real estate sectors acted as luncheon hosts at the Willard Kimsey Environmental Education Center. The statewide guests gave an overview of their agencies and projects, and local leaders were able to address their concerns and perspectives on local development projects.

The 2009 Developer Day events brought a total of thirty-three statewide project managers from thirteen different agencies to Stephens County and placed emphasis on the community’s unified support of development efforts. Sixty-eight local leaders acted as lunch hosts at the events, the testimony of a County, City, School Board, and private industry working together to promote Stephens County as open for business.

Jim Blair, Georgia Department of Economic Development: I came away much better informed about the opportunities in Stephens County and the support that I can expect as a project manager. A community can have inventory, it can have logistics, but if there’s no leadership it’s not a community we can sell to a company. Leadership is something I’ve certainly seen in Stephens County; it really shines.”

Carter Wood, Georgia Department of Economic Development: “One thing that always impresses me about Stephens County is the workforce that you have. The trainability and dependability of your workforce is incredible, and it is something that companies look for and that we as statewide developers can really market.”

Dennis Chastain, GEMC: I’m a native of Toccoa… so Toccoa will always have a place in my heart. I see a very bright future for this community. I know the widening of Highway 17 is a long running saga, but that will eventually happen, and you’ll be very proud of the property you have in the Hayestone Brady Business Park.”

Airport Authority receives $500,000 for new terminal

Stephens County's Airport Authority was notified this week that it will receive a $500,000 grant from the OneGeorgia Authority to fund improvements to the R.G. LeTourneau Airport. The grant will be used toward a project to build a terminal building, new ramp, and new fueling station.