Hart County Group Moving Forward with Renovation Plans

December 14, 2012

TORCH, the group working to revitalize Railroad St. in downtown Hartwell is one step nearer to closing on the lease of several major pieces of property.

Last week, Hart County Chamber Marketing and Tourism Director Nikki Meyer announced a lease agreement has been negotiated by members of TORCH for all the land behind Depot Street, the Train Restaurant, Weigh station, Rail lines and corridor out to Webb St.

Other details she said will be kept private till all the contracts have been signed.

TORCH plans a $3.2 million dollar renovation and revitalization to the long-abandoned road in an effort to attract more tourism to the area. The Railroad St. project calls for shops and restaurants, a pavilion for artists and a farmer’s market, as well as a child’s play area, and walking trails with health stations.

Meyer said most of the funding will come from grant money, which she said TORCH is already working on.

“We’ve got a lot of things going on in the pipeline as far as grants,” Meyer said. “We’re working with the Georgia Mountain Regional Commission and we are on their community economic development strategy list. They won’t touch anything unless it’s on that list.  So, we had to make sure we were on that list. It’s a statewide list.”

Meyer said a major fund raising effort will also kick off after the first of the year.

Work on the Railroad St. revitalization project Meyer said will begin as son as funding starts to come in.