Funding announced during visit by State Economic Development Commissioner
ATLANTA — Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) announced that two key projects in Gilmer County received funding in the FY 2017 state budget recently signed by Governor Deal. The budget includes $150,000 for the Gilmer Arts Playhouse and $310,000 for the Gilmer County Cannery.
“We budget conservatively, but we have to make strategic investments for future growth in Gilmer County,” said Speaker David Ralston. “These projects will contribute greatly to the quality of life in our community and keep our economy moving forward. I am proud that we were able to fund the playhouse and cannery projects while still balancing the state budget and spending less on state government, per person, than we did 10 years ago.”
The funding was announced during a visit by Chris Carr, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, at the Gilmer Chamber of Commerce. Commissioner Carr updated residents and business owners on the state’s continuing work to keep Georgia the #1 destination for business.
The $150,000 in funding for the George Link, Jr., Gilmer Arts Playhouse comes through a grant from the tourism program of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. The funding will go toward the costs of remodeling the 1940s building in historic downtown Ellijay. Scheduled to open in early 2017, this 150-seat venue will be capable of hosting high quality performances, rehearsals and other events on more than 100 nights per year.
The $310,000 in funding for the Gilmer County Board of Education’s Cannery comes through a vocational equipment bond from the Georgia Department of Education. This bond funding will help purchase new equipment for the cannery. Canning has long been a part of life in Gilmer County and this facility makes preserving the bounty of the harvest a community effort. As the agritourism industry grows, thanks to programs like the North Georgia Farm Trail, facilities like this will become even more important in the community.
Other projects of interest in the FY 2017 state budget include funding for a viticulturist position for the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. A viticulturist helps wineries achieve maximum yield in their grape crops to make Georgia-grown wine. This expert will be a tremendous resource to wineries in Gilmer County and the surrounding area.
More than $5.8 million dollars in road project funding from the Georgia Department of Transportation is also included in the FY 2017 state budget. This funding is made possible by the provisions of the Transportation Funding Act of 2015 and is in addition to already increased LMIG funding.