What was originally thought a "sure-fire" grant request has, instead, left city officials scratching their heads.
"Based on the criteria that [the Georgia Department of Natural Resources] gave us, we thought it was a pretty safe bet," said Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan. "However, we were graded low on about three different aspects and we're still trying to find out why we got a lower grading than we thought we should have."
The city had previously applied for the Georgia Greenways Grant late last year, which funds hiking, biking and horseback trails, in addition to canoe and kayak launches. Funding is also available for trails that accommodate motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and off-road light trucks.
Out of 87 applicants and a requested $9 million, only 27 applicants and $2.5 million were given out by the state.
"The money was given to those that scored over 125 points. We scored 120, so we're trying to find out why we were graded low in those three areas," Grogan said.
The city was requesting $100,000 of these funds to help build a trail around its Main Street Park, which would include greenspace and an amphitheater, as well as a walking trail around the property.
"I felt pretty comfortable with that grant, so I'm not sure why we were scored so low," Grogan said. "But all we can do is keep trying."
Grogan said that, while the grant funding wasn't crucial, it would have been helpful.
"We've still got the money from SPLOST to fund this, but any bit we can save the taxpayers is good. The SPLOST comes slowly over a six year period," Grogan said. "The money is still set aside for work on the park, but now it's just a matter of priorities."