Monday, June 22, 2009

Main Street Toccoa sees new businesses and job growth despite recession

While statewide and national statistics show higher unemployment numbers and business stagnation, Main Street Toccoa has shown remarkable success in weathering the economic downturn.

Since 2007, when the recession officially began and Doyle Street was re-opened to vehicular traffic, Main Street Toccoa has seen private investment reach $4.8 million, 18 new businesses open, and 44 new jobs created.

Part of that private investment includes 35 historic building façade renovations and 61 requests to improve façades brought to the Historic Preservation Commission.

"Toccoa’s progress since 2007 is truly amazing," said Billy Parrish, Director of Downtown Development for GA Department of Community Affairs. "Main Street Toccoa is an inspiration to programs throughout the state."

Several downtown businesses are expanding their operating hours and services, and Toccoa’s downtown is becoming a regional destination.

Main Street Toccoa’s recent recognition as a top 10 Main Street Program as well as the community’s enthusiasm and support for the Heart and Soul Bus Tour have helped to bolster Toccoa’s momentum.

"We are very pleased with the progress Main Street Toccoa is making in attracting tourists and investors to our downtown," said Director Connie Tabor. "That being said, we are working hard to keep our Main Street district in the spotlight."

Cinema on Sage: Journey to the Center of the Earth

Main Street Toccoa's Cinema on Sage brings you Journey to the Center of the Earth on Friday, July 10. Music will be provided at 7 p.m. from AM 630 WNEG Radio with the movie staring at 9 p.m. Admission is free.

Bring a lawn chair and enjoy the cool summer nights with this family friendly event on Sage and Tugalo Streets in Historic Downtown Toccoa. Come early -- do a little shopping, and pick up food and ice cream at one of the downtown restaurants. Then settle in and watch Journey to the Center of the Earth on a massive, 30-foot screen.

Friday, June 12, 2009

NE GA Arts Tour Comes to Toccoa

The 2009 self-guided Arts Tour through the scenic mountains of Northeast Georgia includes beautiful Toccoa-Stephens County. The Tour allows visitors to take in local artists, attractions, restaurants, workshops and music. There are over thirty six art related businesses and attractions participating in the fifth annual tour this year in Stephens, Habersham, Rabun and White counties.

Start your tour in historic downtown Toccoa. Come to the renovated train depot, home to the Welcome Center, the Chamber of Commerce and the Historical Society. Pick up a map of the sights of Toccoa-Stephens County and those of the surrounding counties. There will be a special bronze sculpting display at the Welcome Center from Bruce Everly to kick off the tour.

Call the Historical Society ahead of time at (706)282-5055 and reserve a guided tour through the famous Currahee Military Museum. See the incredible collection of WWII military memorabilia as well as a series of bronze sculpture busts, including General Dwight D. Eisenhower done by local, classical sculptor Bruce Everly.

From there you can take stroll to downtown Toccoa where the three Art Zone locations can be found:

Dream Giver’s Art Gallery is “the most diverse, inviting and customer friendly art gallery that you could imagine.” The Dream Givers Art Gallery offers a relaxed, comfortable setting with an extremely wide variety of art, featuring the work of only local artists. You won’t want to miss this unique, one a kind art gallery with over 90 local artist’s work. Live artist demonstrations include: sterling silver jewelry design, hand cut gemstone jewelry design, fabric jewelry bags design, acrylic painting, oil painting, jewelry making and photography on stretched canvas. Hours for the demonstrations are Friday 1:00-5:00pm, Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm and Sunday 1:00-5:00pm.

Hall Manor Mercantile features locally handmade furniture, art, antiques and home décor. Both adult and children’s art classes are offered in various mediums and are fortunate to have fifteen local artists sharing their creative talents year-round. Live artist demonstrations include: fiber arts, painting and gourd art. Hours for the demonstrations are Friday 10:00am-6:00pm, Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm and Sunday 1:00-5:00pm.

The Studio and Frame Shop is a working studio offering classes for adults and children to learn and explore art. It is the gallery for the Currahee Artists’ Guild. Live artist demonstrations include: wire sculpting, drawing, watercolor, pottery, acrylic painting, jewelry making, wood carving and basketry. Hours for the demonstrations are Friday 1:00-5:00pm, Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm and Sunday 1:00-5:00pm.

Also located in downtown are four of the featured Dining locations: “Come as you are” and experience the casual gourmet experience of The Cornerstone Restaurant. Its full menu of Eclectic Americana favorites is sure to suit your taste buds and fill your stomach. Another lunchtime favorite is The Rebel Café, a diner-style restaurant that features breakfast all day and some of the best burgers in town.

With all of the browsing you are sure to do, who wouldn’t be hungry for some ice cream? Olie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor and Sweet Shoppe, or just Olie’s for short, offers 32 different flavors of ice cream as well as decadent desserts that you simply can’t resist.

For dinner, Toccoa-Stephens County is proud to offer Gregory’s at the Bus Stop and Quincy’s Restaurant. Just across the street from the art demonstrations at Hall Manor Mercantile, Gregory’s “Trattoria Italiana” is sure to leave you satisfied featuring Fine Italian dining with a wide variety of selections: from pasta to ribeye steaks. Or, drive down Big A Road; Quincy’s has something for everyone. Their buffet-style dining features steaks, chicken and seafood all the way to their fabulous dessert bar. You won’t leave hungry, that’s for sure.

After supper, stay the night in beautiful Historic Downtown Toccoa. Simmons-Bond Inn Bed and Breakfast is Toccoa’s finest lodging. Featured in AJC, this 1903 Victorian Inn is in located in the heart of historic downtown Toccoa and takes pride in its history, amenities ,and services offered to guests. You’ll feel right at home.

Your trip to Toccoa would not be complete without visiting the Paul Anderson Memorial Park. There is a life-sized bronze statue by internationally acclaimed sculptor Jerry McKenna of the Olympic Champion still known today as the world’s strongest man.

Please join us in recognizing our Tour sponsors: City of Toccoa, Toccoa Stephens County Chamber of Commerce, First Franklin Financial, Toccoa Falls College, Toccoa Record, WNEG TV, WNEG Radio.

The arts tour takes place Friday, June 19 through Sunday 21, 2009 and again November 13-15, 2009. Artist demonstration times vary, but scheduled times are: Friday 1-5pm, Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 1-5pm.

2009 Arts Tour brochures will be available at participating locations. Visit to plot your own course and to see a complete guide to the artists, venues, times and tours. For additional information or questions, please call or stop by the Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce at 160 N Alexander St, Toccoa, (706)886-2132.

Volunteer Board Members Recognized

The Toccoa City Commission took time out on June 10 to recognize the more than 60 volunteers who serve on the various boards and committees needed by the City of Toccoa. Below are some pictures of the event.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Toccoa City Commission to host Board Member Reception

It takes more than 60 unpaid board and committee members to keep the City of Toccoa functioning, and the Toccoa City Commission would like to take time to give them a pat on the back for a job well done.

City Commissioners will host a reception on Tuesday, June 9 at City Hall to thank volunteers who serve on nine boards and committees.

Volunteers from the Airport Authority, Historic Preservation Commission, Downtown Development Authority, Toccoa Planning Commission, Alcohol Beverage Control Board, Northeast Georgia Housing Authority, Toccoa Initiative for Community Housing, Citizens Advisory Panel on Litter & Blight, and Toccoa Ethics Review Board will be recognized at the reception.

The public is invited to attend.