Hartwell/Hart County: Cast Your Line Here
If local leaders have their way, those popular television fishing shows will soon be broadcasting from the waters of Lake Hartwell.
The county is teaming up with neighboring Franklin and Stephens through the Tri-County Development Authority to garner funds to build a Multipurpose Recreational Facility - or mega ramp - on the lake.
Members of the county commission, including Commissioners Dan Reyen and Ricky Carter, initiated the campaign to bring the facility as the best way to use the area's natural resource - Lake Hartwell - while bringing more tax revenue into the county.
"We've determined through our research that these things have become an economic engine for communities," says Doug Cleveland, chairman of the Hart County Chamber of Commerce and leader of the drive to build such a facility on Lake Hartwell.
The plan calls for building on land obtained from the Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains the lake. When completed, the facility would offer six to eight launching ramps - enough to field a major fishing tournament with 250 boats.
Hart County expects to pony up $500,000 from the passage of a 1 percent local option sales tax to begin funding the $1 million to $1.5 million effort, Reyen says.
Officials hope to supplement those funds with additional monies obtained through grants such as those offered by the OneGeorgia Authority for economic development.
Hart is considering three different sites; the final choice won't be made until more funds are in hand.
"We want it to be as accessible as possible to downtown Hartwell," Reyen says. "That's the whole goal. We have plenty of places on the fringes of the county, but that's not our purpose. We want to get the people to come through Hartwell. Get the tourists to come in and spend their money here."