Paris Business Center’s grants take center stage

Community, News

Downtown Hiawassee

HIAWASSEE, Ga – Restoring the Paris Business Center and associated grant costs became the main subject of discussion during the February city council meeting.

Hiawassee City Council and downtown development authority (DDA) entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for management of the Paris Business Center.

In other words, the DDA operates the Paris Business Center, but the city owns the building. By approving the MoU, they can proceed forward with the ARC grant application for $600,000.

If approved, the city would match 30 percent of the $600,000, approximately $180,000.The buildings’ appraisal was set at $135,000, Mayor Ordiales said on November 25, 2020, although $36,000 was “donated to the city” by Dan Paris, reducing the city’s cost to $99,000. Through additional architecture and environmental studies, the remaining match around is around $60,000. 

USDA Rural Development Grant issued Hiawassee a roof and stabilization grant for $68,000.

“We’ve got that money. I’ve been working very hard… who’s going to turn down $180,000 to get $600,000 for free,” Mayor Liz Ordiales explained.

Mayor Liz Ordiales

Mayor Liz Ordiales

The overall project is estimated to be $1.2 million, and the DDA set a fundraising goal of $1.5 million. They also hired a consulting coach to help them raise the money for the Paris building renovations. It’s not their intention to leave the city holding the bag if they can’t raise funds.

At the end of 2020, the DDA raised $7,600 for the project within three weeks. They also have a fundraising workshop planned for February.

The DDA can’t apply for grants. If they see an applicable grant, it must be presented to the council and approved as a resolution.

The fee schedule for the alcohol ordinance was also approved; nothing changed cost-wise.

Also, the cars were approved for the February 20 auction: Crown Victoria, Toyota Camry, and Ford 150. They also discussed adding the Dodge Charger to the list because of the cost associated with fixing it. In the future, the city and police department plan to return to Ford Explorers. They’ve experienced too many issues with Dodge Chargers, but if they don’t receive enough money from the sale, they won’t purchase a new car.

COVID-19 Update

The seven-day update for Towns went up 50 percent with 36 news cases, and the positivity rate came in at 23 percent. COVID-19 testing went down 20 percent of all the hospital beds are COVID-19 related with eight new hospitalizations.

The health department offers vaccinations when available at the recreation center. Patients must make appointments beforehand.