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County looking at grant
Funds would aid retail center
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Dawson County officials are looking into several grants intended to accelerate the construction of a major retail center along Ga. 400.

Commission Chairman Mike Berg said there are economic development funds available through the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission that could be used to improve roads, water, sewer and broadband infrastructure at a site between Carlisle and Dawson Forest roads.

Atlanta-based Blanchard Real Estate Capital bought the 102-acre lot last summer and is expected to break ground later this year on a commercial "power center" aimed at drawing national retail and restaurants to Dawson.

Charlie Auvermann, executive director of the local development authority, said the intent of the grants is to fund improvements to Dawson Forest, Gordon Moss, Lumpkin Campground and Whitmire roads, which surround the property.

Two of the three potential grants must be pursued by the county.

The first is based on employment numbers and would total no more than $500,000, while the second would be through the federal department of commerce with a maximum amount of $2 million.

Neither requires matching funds from the county, he said.

The development authority, which has agreed to cover the $1,000 application fee, is also pursuing a Georgia One Authority grant, according to Auvermann.

The grant prospects and process were presented last week to the county commission. The members likely will vote on the matter during a meeting Thursday night.

"We're requesting letters to the GMRC to provide their services to write those grants on behalf of the development authority through the county to apply that money to those projects," Auvermann said.

If approved, the county would allow the regional commission to start the effort.

"This is a process to try to get some more revenue-producing entities on Ga. 400," Berg said.