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The Chatter about Charm, Joel Cordle, DDA Director

What inspires local residents and visitors to frequently talk about the beauty and charm of downtown Dahlonega? First, the historic architecture of our commercial, residential, and institutional buildings is important. The feeling of "place," our local identity, is characterized by the look of the town and by how well it is maintained. In addition to the architecture, there are other visual elements that create a sense of value, quality, and pride such as landscaping, flowers, blooming shrubs, and our terrific trees.

2013 marks the 12th consecutive year that Dahlonega has achieved the Tree City USA designation. The achievement of "Tree City" designation requires significant commitment from a community. The city and its volunteer partners must maintain its existing public tree inventory while also planting new trees for future generations. This work has been accomplished for many years by the teamwork of the city's Tree Commission members, the County Extension Agent, contracted arborists, Master Gardeners, and City of Dahlonega staff. Dahlonega is blessed with trees that help make the downtown area more beautiful, but this valuable resource is there not by chance. Our marvelous tree inventory exists by plan, commitment, investment, and hard work on the part of these community partners.

Let's also consider our wonderful ring of roses around Morrison Moore Parkway and the flowering shrubs surrounding the center of town. Winter time pruning and mulching is underway this month so that spring and summer will be in full bloom. Warm season flowers will be added in the spring and will provide lively color into the fall season. So, it is no accident that we have beautiful town landscaping that inspires residents and visitors to comment about the beauty and charm of our downtown area. It represents community values and pride. It also represents civic investment that creates a climate for private investment, a place where businesses like to locate and where customers like to visit, spend, linger, and return.

Joel Cordle is the Director of Dahlonega's Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Main Street Program. The seven volunteers who serve as the DDA Board are appointed by city council. The DDA's work is driven by the downtown master plan created in 2008 with great input from the public and downtown stakeholders. They use the Main Street economic development program to build and sustain a climate of success for downtown businesses, attract positive investment, and keep the community prosperous while supporting the preservation of our historic architecture. In 2010, Dahlonega won the Georgia Downtown Association's 2010 Award for Excellence in Downtown Development.