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Economic Development

The Downtown Development Association (DDA) is headquartered in the historic Lavonia Depot Welcome Center. Marie Morse serves as Executive Director of the Association and current chair of the Board is Nora Chambers. The Board is composed of business owners and citizens who have an interest in downtown development and activities. The Board meets monthly to address issues, concerns and to facilitate planning for the future prosperity of our downtown area.

In 2004-2005 a Master Plan to further the enhancement of tourism in the City of Lavonia was developed and presented to Lavonia Elected Officials. The Master Plan was developed by the Lavonia Downtown Development Authority and Better Hometown Program, in response to a study which had been preformed in 2004 by Georgia Tech, and paid for by a One Georgia Grant to the Lake Hartwell Marketing Alliance.

The purpose of the Lake Hartwell study was to identify opportunities for further tourism development in the Lake Hartwell Region. One of the most important recommendations was that of "emphasizing small-town atmosphere" and that each town should first be developed and marketed as destination in them. In response to this recommendation, the DDA created the Master Plan for Tourism enhancement which addressed the Georgia Tech Study recommendation to "improve historic and cultural amenities in the region to match the region’s natural assets."

Specifically, the Master Plan outlined three major initiatives, which directly related to and supported each other: first, the development of a Cultural Center; secondly, the development of a Folk Life Play; and third, development of the Historic Lavonia Depot and Museum.

We're happy to report that in 2012, all three major initiatives have been accomplished.

  • The Cultural Center was created in an unused National Guard Armory that had been given to the city by the State of Georgia. For the first couple of years, minor work was done on the center and it was mostly used for Christmas festivities.
  • In 2007, a portion of the facility received extensive renovations for a theater which is now home to Land of Spirit, Franklin County’s Folk Life Play.
  • The Land of Spirit Folk Life Play was developed and has completed its sixth season. First season play in 2008 featured "The Last Hard Times"; second season "Gas Sugar Nylons and Chocolate Bars"; 2010 "Ahh, Shot in the Arm, 2011 season "The Secret Quilt" and 2012 the title was "Front Porch Stories", The 2013 Land of Spirit production of "Under the Magnolia" was an epic drama giving tribute to the very young who fought and died for the Confederate cause in our area. We are looking forward to the 2014 season of "Franklin Feudin" a more light hearted way of looking at our dear county.

The Lavonia Welcome Center located in Lavonia's Historic Depot is decorated throughout with artifacts from Lavonia's History and also the Northeast Georgia area. The museum will be marketed as the site to come see history on display and then see it come to life in Land of Spirit folk life play.

The three components; Cultural Center,Folk Life Play and Historic Depot, woven together will provide unique, participatory tourism experiences that will bring jobs and economic impact to our community while preserving and sustaining the character of our community.

The DDA continues to work and plan for the growth and development of our city in many other ways and development of a NEW Master Plan will be underway shortly.

Board Members

Nora Chambers, Chairman
AFB&T Vice President

Jerry Beatty
J & J Safety

Logan Mathis
Retired - Ross Control

Diane Toney
Retired Principal
Franklin County High School

George Dicks
Business Owner Downtown Lavonia

Esther Moulder
Pinnacle Bank

Daniel Brown
Mgr. WHLR Radio


NEW OPENINGS IN LAVONIA

SOUTHERN ALPACA CONNECTIONS
LOCATED ON EAST MAIN STREET

FRONT PORCH LIVIN
LOCATED ON GROGAN STREET

BRIGHT SUNNY DAY
LOCATED ON WEST AVENUE

WINNIE J's BOUTIQUE
LOCATED ON WEST AVENUE

VF CHITWOOD CLOTHIERS
LOCATED ON WEST AVENUE

ANTIQUES TOO
LOCATED ON WEST MAIN STREET

AMBER'S BOUTIQUE
LOCATED ON VICKERY STREET BEHIND HEALTH & NUTRITION STORE

PLEASE VISIT ALL OF OUR WONDERFUL DOWNTOWN STORES

REMEMBER SHOP LOCAL!!!!