The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce has begun its most ambitious fundraiser to date in order to garner funds for a proposed welcome center.
"If we get to build the building that we want, we're looking at an $800,000 building," said Dawson County Chamber of Commerce President Linda Williams. "The board wants about half of that in the bank before we can break ground and we've already put in more than $100,000 so we really only need less than $300,000 to get started," she added, noting that while the chamber has many dedicated volunteers who have aided in fundraising, they still need all the help they can get in reaching their goal.
"We are looking for someone who can dedicate themselves full time to a fundraising effort. We need more than just volunteers," Williams said.
Williams said the chamber was incorporated in 1977 and maintained a very modest presence in the community until the 1990's.
"Back in the mid 90's we renovated the old jail, which is where we are right now. Before that, we had the Committee of 2000 in the early 90's that came together and helped fund the chamber. That served as a foundation for the chamber to get really active," said Williams. "The economic climate is different now. The county is bigger, so we'll just have to see how it develops as things go along," she added.
Should the chamber's plans reach fruition, the proposed welcome center will be built on a plot of land just over an acre in size located on Carlisle Road off Ga. Hwy. 400.
"It could be a two-story building depending on how well fundraising goes. But it's definitely going to have three service points. One to serve the chamber members, we'll also have the welcome center there so it will be a good place for people who are new to the county, or are coming through for tourism, to stop by. Then, the third part would be for the development authority to have their office there," said Williams.
Williams remains optimistic that the chamber will reach its fundraising goal soon.
"Maybe 18 months, but we don't know for sure because we've never done anything like this before.
It's new to us to do something this big," she said.
The chamber's current fundraising project is its annual Reverse Raffle.
"John Megel Chevrolet has provided us with a (Chevrolet) Aveo to raffle off this year," said Williams, who added that the car will be on display around town until the winning ticket is drawn Aug. 28.
Tickets for the Reverse Raffle are $100 each and are limited in number to 350 tickets.
The winner of the raffle also has the option of accepting a cash prize of $10,000 instead of the Aveo.
Tickets for the raffle may be purchased at the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce or from any of its board members.
For more information on the Reverse Raffle, or to volunteer or donate to the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, call (706) 265-6278 or visit them on the Web at www.dawson.org.
E-mail Adam C. Stapleton at firstname.lastname@example.org.