Forty-two members and sixteen visitors signed in at the Towns County Civic Center by 6 p.m. with most bringing a covered dish to share for dinner. TCCA bought BBQ, chicken fingers, tea, water, and paper products. Members were asked to bring side dishes, salads, desserts.
President Michael Courey opened the meeting at 6:30 p.m. Guest speakers were Grace Howard, Executive Director of Hamilton Gardens at Lake Chatuge, Inc.; Candace Lee, President of Towns County Chamber of Commerce; and Pat Malone, 2020 Census.
Howard gave a brief history of Hamilton Gardens and told of the recent damage by several strong storms, taking down huge old trees. She thanked those who had helped with cleanup and those who had donated to this cleanup. She said there was still more to do.
Lee bragged on Towns County’s tourism years, up from 2017—over $51 million—to over $53 million in 2018. That’s the last complete list of tourism in GA counties. She listed some of the up-coming events bringing in tourism this coming spring and classes the Chamber will be having soon.
Malone explained why each person is so important, answering the 2020 Census questionnaire. It’s not only a historical record, but it determines the apportionment of congressional seats in Washington D.C. and the Georgia General Assembly. He said Georgia receives about $2K per person, so the more accurate the count, the more federal funds will be allocated locally.
Chairman of City of Hiawassee Downtown Development Authority Herb Bruce gave an update on their purchase of several old buildings on Main Street and asked for suggestions for their use in the near future.
President Courey spoke of the SPLOST referendum in the upcoming May 19th election, “Your right to vote is important.” He thanked speakers, guests and the many members for coming and bringing such good dishes for the pot luck dinner.
The next general membership meeting will be in June of 2020. Notice of place and time will be in the newspaper.