Council Discusses Direction for Blairsville’s Growth

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Blairsville, Ga – City council addressed next steps for Blairsville’s rapid growth and how to handle the future.

Councilman Robert Moore brought up the Haralson Property lots and suggested leaving the remaining lots undeveloped.

Another restaurant will hopefully close eight-tenths of an acre, and if that goes through, then a little over an acre will remain.

“I think we need the greenspace myself. If we cut any more trees, it’s just going to ruin the town,” said Councilman Mary Ruth Cook.

Mayor Jim Conley confirmed that the lot across from Cook’s Resturant would be left, “It’s already been determined that the property across from Cook’s would be hung on to because we definitely need to have the parking.”

Moore stated that the city council needs to address future plans with the Downtown Development Authority (DDA).

Councilman Tony Dyer announced that the next Downton Development Authority (DDA) meeting on July 9 will be open to the public, “The purpose of the meeting is to throw out ideas and see what we want to do from now on.  I think that’s a good thing to bring up.”

The city doesn’t have any authority as to how the property is sold but can provide input and suggestions for future plans. However, it’s the city council’s decision to relieve the DDA of the existing debt. If the current restaurant deal closes, $200,000 will be due to the DDA.

“I agree with you that we need to slow down with anything else we do,” said Dyer in response to Moore’s suggestion to consider the future of the city.

During Police Chief Michael Bear Baxter’s report, he commented that the new police department should be ready to move into within the month.  Rock’s currently being laid on the building.

“Power should be hooked up next week. Everything is ready to go. Of course, with us moving in, we have to have some things,” stated Baxter.

Councilman Rhonda Mahan asked if the remodel would include new furniture.

Conley confirmed that it would have new kitchen appliances, but office furniture would be moved from the current location.

“Some of that’s not worth moving,” said Mahan, “That stuff’s been here forever. The chairs are falling apart.”

Dyer joined in, “I think it may be up to us, whether they get anything new or not. All of us. Some of that stuff is too old to move over there to that structure.”

The current furniture came from the school, who stored it in a barn until giving it to the police department. Baxter conceded that some new desks, chairs, and other materials might be needed.

“Especially the chairs,” commented Baxter “The ones the public use, when we bring somebody in, they’re bad. They’re. bad.  I wouldn’t want to sit in one. You don’t need fabric chairs for the public. It’s not feasible. They look terrible. They’re stained up. Some of the things we need should be replaced.”

Baxter also commended Officer Shawn Dyer for spending the construction money wisely and stretching the dollar for the city.

Moore recommended that Baxter bring proposals for new furniture to the next council meeting.

Additionally, DDA Program Manager Darren Harper reported that the city earned $3,360 from the Spring Arts and Crafts festival.

“It’s higher than we ever had, and there are ways that we want to tweak it so next year it can be even better,” commented Harper.

Also, downtown business owners told Harper that they’re having really good numbers and are making more money than in 2018.

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