Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Trey Ward to Play at Ida Cox Music Series

The Trey Ward Band will be the featured group August 2 at 7:00 p.m. at the Ida Cox Music Series. This year’s music series has been extended for two weeks thanks to a grant from the Georgia Council for the Arts.

Trey Ward is a prolific singer/songwriter and accomplished musician from Greenwood, S.C. He began his songwriting career as a teenager when he signed his first song publishing deal at the age of 13 with Hit Kit Music. At the age of 14 he scored an independent record deal and got national distribution of the “A” side.
Often called a New Traditionalist, his music is firmly anchored in the traditional sounds of Flat and Scruggs as well as Haggard and Jones, but with a lyrical twist centered in today’s life and culture. His songs and musical style are both pure and raw, and completely devoid of the tones and trappings of modern commercial radio.

In early 2010, two of his songs were recorded and released nationally by California’s Rural Rhythm Records. “Truman’s Vision,” the story of the Savannah River Plant was recorded by Grammy winner Randy Kohrs, and “All I Can Do Is Just Pretend,” was recorded by bluegrass powerhouse Audie Blaylock and Red Line. More recently, his tune 'Greenwood Mill" was recorded by Mountain Fever recording artists Volume Five and released in June of 2011.

He auditioned for and passed the stringent audition process for Nashville’s Bluebird Café in 2007. He has been invited back to perform his original songs at the Bluebird 12 times since 2008.

For more information, visit treywardmusic.com.

The music series is named for Ida Cox, a vaudeville performer and a pioneering blues singer who helped found the female blues genre. Cox was born Ida Prather on February 25, 1896, in Toccoa, GA. She left home as a teenager to tour with a minstrel revue. Cox excelled at vaudeville singing, but when the popularity of vaudeville shows began to fade, she transformed herself into a blues singer. Cox died on November 10, 1967 having made her mark in the music world.

Toccoa Main Street and the Ida Cox Music Series invite everyone to attend. You are welcome to bring a chair or blanket and enjoy an evening of music in Historic Downtown Toccoa.

This program is supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly.  GCA also receives support from its partner agency—the National Endowment for the Arts.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Expanded Summer Events

Main Street Toccoa will be adding some extra events to this summer’s line up of movies and concerts.

Each Thursday night during the months of June and July, movies have been shown in the Schaefer Center. The two remaining movies in July are The Hunger Games (rated PG-13) on July 17 and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (rated PG-13) on July 24.

Since the summer’s first movie “Frozen” was sold out, Main Street Toccoa will be showing an encore presentation of the movie on August 7. According to Sharon Crosby, Special Events Coordinator, “We realize that this is the night for Open House at our elementary schools, but we hope that families will come after they go and visit the schools. It will be a fun way to close off the summer.” Admission is $1.00 for each of the movies and concessions are also $1.00. Doors will open at 6:15.

Thanks to a grant from the Georgia Council for the Arts, the Ida Cox Music Series will be extended for two additional weeks. The country band, The Trey Ward Band, will perform on August 2 and the beach band, Still Cruzin, will perform on August 9.The concerts begin at 7:00 p.m. and are free. 

Monday, July 14, 2014


The Schaefer Center has recently undergone façade renovations and because of these renovations, will now be reviewed for consideration as contributing to the National Register Historic District. With a $15,000 grant award from the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) and Georgia Council for the Arts, and a local match of $15,000 from the city’s grant fund, the Schaefer Center received a historic facelift.  The GDEcD tourism product development grant was awarded for the restoration of the art deco stucco façade and architectural elements of the original 1939 Ritz Movie Theater. Phase II of the project, which was funded by the GDEcD grant, was to remove the brick veneer façade and contemporary lighting fixtures and repair the stucco underneath.  Phase III provided for the following: entry alcove repair, installation of  a stone cap on the top of the building, façade painting, reconstruction of two original surface mounted poster inserts,  installation of doors and three square upper story windows, and a ticket window. Paint samples were taken and analyzed by historic preservation consultants in order to determine the original color of each section of the façade. Thus the façade reflects the original paint colors of the Ritz Theater.  The façade renovation further establishes the Schaefer Center as a contributing piece to Toccoa’s regional heritage and cultural tourism.

With the removal of the false facade and completion of the building’s exterior renovation, the GA Department of Natural Resources was contacted to determine if the Schaefer Center would now qualify for additional historic preservation funding. “We would propose to extend the current boundary of the Toccoa Downtown Historic District to Broad Street (on that one block) to take in the theater.  At the time the [National Register] nomination was completed, the theater was determined not contributing to the district due to the false façade.  We believe that it now contributes to the district,” says Lynn Speno, National Register Specialist of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Historic Preservation Division (HPD).  With that information made available, two additional grant applications are in process; one for the HPD Georgia Heritage Grant Program and another for the Tourism Product Development Grant for balcony renovations (which would be Phase VI). Additional information will also be provided to the Georgia DNR with regards to the history of the Schaefer Center along with a request to have the building included in the National Register of Historic Places.  According to Ms. Speno, the next Review Board Meeting will be held in February 2015. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a privately funded nonprofit organization which works to save America’s historic places, like the Schaefer Center.

Planning for future theater renovation projects continues. Phase V of the Schaefer Center restoration will include the reconstruction of the historic marquee.  A grant application has been submitted to the Fox Theatre Institute for the Phase V project construction.  Grant award notification will be the end of August. With the Schaefer Center façade renovation, the Toccoa Downtown Development Authority continues to improve the viability and appearance of one of the historic anchors in the downtown.

“The Schaefer Center renovation is one of the major goals for both the Toccoa City Commission and Downtown Development Authority,” said Community Development Director Connie Tabor.  “We are very optimistic that additional funding options will be made available, with the restoration of the original Schaefer Center façade; we will continue to strive for additional preservation opportunities.” [Phase I Schaefer Center Project consisted of the interior lobby and auditorium renovation and Phase IV was the installation of a new roof, both items have been completed.]

Monday, July 7, 2014

Main Street Toccoa Receives 2014 National Main Street Accreditation

Main Street Toccoa has been designated as an accredited National Main Street Program for meeting the commercial district revitalization performance standards set by the National Main Street Center®, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its partners announce the list of accredited Main Street® programs in recognition of their exemplary commitment to historic preservation and community revitalization through the Main Street Four Point Approach®.

“We congratulate this year’s nationally accredited Main Street programs for their outstanding accomplishment in meeting the National Main Street Center’s performance standards,” says Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “Accredited Main Street programs create vibrant communities by using a comprehensive strategy to preserve their historic character and revitalize their commercial districts, which helps make these great places to work, live, play and visit.”

The organization’s performance is annually evaluated by the Georgia Downtown Association, which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet ten performance standards. These standards set the benchmarks for measuring an individual Main Street program’s application of the Main Street Four Point Approach® to commercial district revitalization. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.

Main Street Toccoa’s mission is to improve Toccoa’s quality of life by strengthening the downtown district’s role as the community’s heart.  Toccoa Main Street was formed in 1990 to make the downtown district the economic and cultural center of the community.  The overall objective is to improve the viability and appearance of the downtown district and to stimulate the long-term reinvestment through business recruitment and retention, all within the context of historic preservation.

Over the past year, Main Street Toccoa has executed 20 downtown events, received Georgia Department of Economic Development grant funds, continued weekly communication with business owners, published the 4th Annual Main Street Directory, continued the historic plaque program with nine downtown buildings, and awarded seven façade grants.  One of the highlights of the façade grant program in 2013 was the façade renovation of Harper’s Row.  Future goals for Main Street are to continue developing the Schaefer Center as a downtown anchor, continue to sponsor events, publish the 5th Annual Main Street Directory, continue to fund the Façade Grant Program for entire Main Street tax district, continue historic plaque program and identify and pursue new businesses.

“Main Street continually strives to strengthen the downtown’s role as the heart of Toccoa,” said Community Planning and Downtown Development Director Connie Tabor.  “We have been accredited by the National Trust for Historic Preservation since 1999.  It is an honor to receive the award and we will continue to look ahead in the upcoming year for progressive opportunities in downtown preservation.”

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places to enrich our future.  www.PreservationNation.org.  Established by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1980, the National Main Street Center helps communities of all sizes revitalize their older and historic commercial districts. Working in more than 2,200 downtowns and urban neighborhoods over the last 34 years, the Main Street program has leveraged more than $59.6 billion in new public and private investment. Participating communities have created 502,728 net new jobs and 115,381 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 246,158 buildings, leveraging an average of $33.28 in new investment for every dollar spent on their Main Street district revitalization efforts.