Press Release from Pickens County Economic Developer Gerry Nechvatal
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The Economic Development Department at the Pickens County Chamber of Commerce has been approached by a development group that is working with a property owner and is exploring the feasibility of building a resort hotel, indoor/outdoor water park, and conference center on Highway Business zoned property located on State Route 136 Connector. As of now no plans have been filed with the county, but introductory meetings were held last week between the developer, county, and state officials.
As with all proposed projects, a review process will begin at Pickens County when plans are submitted and will include the involvement of all county departments in order to gauge the impact of the project and the suitability as it relates to the citizens of Pickens County.
Because this resort would be the first of its type in Georgia and potentially be a significant driver of tourism based economic development for the region in addition to the county, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Department of Community Affairs, as well as other state level agencies may need to become involved.
An independent study commissioned by the property owner and prepared by Hotel and Leisure Advisors, a noted Cleveland, Ohio based consulting group that has conducted over 200 studies of hotels with indoor water parks, as well as the success of Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville, TN indicate that a rural Northwest Georgia location for this type of resort may have merit.
This study also indicates that the proposed $130 million development will create over 900 jobs during construction and over 300 jobs when the resort opens, potentially growing to over 500 jobs within a ten year period. Additionally, 200 indirect jobs are projected to be created in the community according to the report.