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Work session looks at ways to made Porterdale a visitor's destination
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Ideas flew at the Porterdale City Council work session Tuesday night as the mayor, the city council, several village staff members and community leaders worked with Jim Dove and Mott Beck of the Northeast Georgia Regional Council (NEGRC) to look at what was needed to attract business and things that would make Porterdale a destination for visitors.

Dove, Executive Director of the NEGRC, and Beck, Executive Assistant, were there to help the village review events that happen throughout the year, including the July 4th Celebration, Christmas in the Village and Tuba Christmas, and Arbor Day and the village’s fall pet registration and vaccination clinic.

“When we started talking about downtown development, it was apparent there were a lot of good ideas,” said Josephine Kelly, Director of the village’s Main Street program. “[There are lots] of projects. It’s important to quantify them and not lose track of them.”

Kelly handed out workbooks for the GROW-Porterdale blue print, strategies for community and economic development. The purpose of the work session and handout was to identify and prioritize community programming and determine if there were enough resources—personnel and money—to develop the project.

“Christmas and July 4 are the two biggest events for the city,” said Council Member Tim Savage.

Dove and Beck also reviewed with the group events the village sponsored with partners, such as the Rivers Alive Clean Up, the Shriners’ Car Show, Taste of Newton, the Spring band concert, the fire department’s Spring Fling, the Martin Luther King, Jr., Clean Up Day, and the upcoming Yellow River Jam.

Council Member Lowell Chambers said the Yellow River Jam on October 3 had the potential to become one of the village’s signature events. Kelly said they anticipate over 1,000 people would be coming to Porterdale to attend the event, sponsored by Main Street Porterdale, Georgia Water Trails, the Georgia Conservancy, Georgia River Network and Yellow River Water Trail.

The work session also looked at community groups and their events, including the Friends of Porterdale Reunion, the newly-formed Porterdale Film Crew, the Citizens’ Police Academy, the nonprofit CARE and We Ride to Provide, the K-9 Memorial Service, and the Smart Lunch, Smart Kid program.

The group also reviewed the success of the Little Free Libraries program and the kiosks around town that provided free books for people to borrow, as well as what was needed to attract more interest in the community garden outside of city hall.

Dove told those gathered that it was obvious there was a strong sense of community in Porterdale, that let its residents know “you care. I’m amazed at what we’re hearing.”

After discussing creating art-, historic- and health-related projects, the group talked about the need for a new web site and other communications’ vehicles.

Dove suggested that he and Beck summarize the ideas and information presented at the meeting, returning later to continue work on the GROW-Porterdale blue print.