Development Authority meeting Wednesday, Jan. 8, at 4:30
by Mona Lowe,
New Year’s prediction: This is going to be a “charmer” of a year for Ellijay and Gilmer County.
So many people have great expectations. So many are already planning new projects and finding ways to make life better for us all.
I’m predicting that a lot of people are going to be putting their good ideas to work and their money where their mouths are. And I know how you can get in the game.
If you think we need to work on making downtown a safe, inviting environment for shoppers, workers, and visitors, we need you on the Main Street design team. Maybe you’re interested in storefronts looking better. Maybe you’d like to work to make North Church Street an exciting activity location. Maybe you can work on a mural. Do you think we have too many signs downtown? Could you spruce up a particular area?
What would you do with the windows of vacant buildings? Could you help identify and label our historic buildings? Would you like to work on the North Georgia Quilt Trail? Maybe you have an idea for improving the downtown Christmas lights. Maybe you would volunteer to decorate downtown every fall.
You don’t have to be on a committee or come to a lot of meetings, but you can get a good idea of what’s already in the works and sign up for specific projects at a design committee meeting Monday, Jan. 6, 5 p.m. at City Hall.
Or maybe you’d like to see more activity downtown — festivals, promotions, group activities, music, etc. The Main Street promotions committee tries to create a positive image that will rekindle community pride and improve consumer and investor confidence in our downtown. Maybe you have knowledge and experience in marketing or special events and can help. You ought to come to City Hall at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7, and volunteer for a First Saturday, be a vendor at a festival like St. Patrick’s Day, help organize a parades or promote other organizations’ events downtown.
At 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, folks especially interested in good communications and bringing us all together will be working through the outreach committee. This is partnership building and finding the resources — whether finances or people — to achieve our goals. Can you help with a website or a newsletter? Can you make videos of Ellijay? Work with social media? Write grants?
Then at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, people interested in helping business develop downtown will look at streamlining licensing, laws that govern business, recruiting entrepreneurs. Maybe you could help collect market data for our community or work on the retail/service/office/living balance. Maybe you can offer a course on store design or customer relations.
The exact plan of work for 2014 will be considered and adopted at the Development Authority meeting Wednesday, Jan. 8, at 4:30. All these meetings are at City Hall, and all are open to the public.
Main Street volunteers are not just sitting around talking about how things ought to be. Far too many of these volunteers feel obligated by their love of Ellijay to wear too many hats. They take time away from their businesses and families because they know they are making a difference. They are making changes and they are building a better community. They need your help.
The board members are Larry Robinson, Melinda Hadden, Jeff Riblet, Kent Sanford, Patty Kyle, Jim Stover and Al Fuller. Call one of them and ask how you can help.