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Dawsonville City Council approves staff to move forward with land purchase for a revitalized downtown
City hall

During the May 16 meeting of the Dawsonville City Council, council members approved city staff to move forward with a land purchase of about 17.34 acres of land to be used for revitalizing and growing businesses in the downtown Dawsonville area. 

According to a presentation by Council Member John Walden, who has been working alongside the property owner to arrange details of the potential purchase, the land is located across Highway 53 from city hall and extends down to Highway 9, and it would connect the old downtown to the city hall area of Dawsonville. 

“This piece of property we’re looking at is a piece of property that would allow us to connect old downtown Dawsonville to over here,” Walden said. “As many people know out in the community, as far as businesses come the biggest problem is parking; with this it allows us to have parking plus open some city roads up and hopefully some businesses come.” 

Mayor Mike Eason said that purchasing the land would allow the city to add more walkable areas to allow citizens and visitors to travel more easily to and from downtown businesses, and would also allow for more potential businesses to come into the area. 

“We own some streets to the west that we would probably wanna open up for driving and walking access to give the opportunity to walk behind some of our current businesses all the way over here as well as to walk from the park and the farmers market over to this area,” Eason said. 

He explained that the city has been working with different entities to come up with possible concepts of what to use the land for, to bring more businesses and foot traffic into the downtown area. 

“We’ve got ideas of what might be put in there, but we’re gonna work with the Appalachian Regional Commission… we’ve been working with some local engineers to come up with some concepts and what we gotta do is work with some developers to make this work and come up with a plan that’s acceptable to us,” Eason said. “Maybe some businesses with some apartments above them, something like that, a live work kind of community, some other restaurants, things like that in this area.” 

All of the council members agreed that adding on land to potentially bring new businesses into the community would go a long way towards revitalizing the downtown area. 

“It definitely opens up some available land for us to get businesses in here, and the state highway won’t go through the middle of it,” Council Member Caleb Phillips said. 

“I think this is a good thing for the city, and I’d like to thank John and the property owners for their work on this and making it come to fruition,” Council Member Mark French added. 

According to Eason, the council’s vote on Monday was to approve a $1 million purchase, with $100,000 to be put down up front to be held until the city’s environmental studies are finished. The project would be funded out of SPLOST 7 and the city’s general fund reserves. 

“We’ll have to do some environmental and other studies on the property to make sure; we’ll be signing it tonight if y’all approve it,” Eason said to the council members. “We just want it to be so the City of Dawsonville will have a place that people can come to and do something besides go to the park and the farmer’s market because downtown, while we’ve got some businesses down there, they’re very hard to access because of the traffic. So we want to try to bring something that’ll bring people into our community.” 

Council members voted unanimously to approve the land purchase. 

“We’re growing and we’re open for business, so I’m really excited about this, I really am, to see downtown Dawsonville grow,” Walden said. “Plus for the citizens — to give them a chance to walk around and enjoy downtown because we’ve got a beautiful town, we’ve got a beautiful community, and there’s a lot of great people who live here, so I think this is a win-win for everybody.”