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DahlonegaMP Perimeter

DahlonegaMP Perimeter

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Published by mckaycaston

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Published by: mckaycaston on Oct 06, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Driving into Dahlonega, Georgia, is an awe-inspiring experience. Cresting the hill that descends fromHighway 60 into town reveals the wonder of the mountain panorama that surrounds the community. Everytime my family and I see it we are “blown away.” That is the experience we want to have with thegospel—and is an experience that we want to share with others. And so, as we prepare to launch a newchurch in the Dahlonega area, the mission will be simple:
“To glorify God by helping people come alive to the beauty, wonder, & power of the gospel.” 
Dahlonega, Georgia, is a vibrant, historic college town nestled in the beautiful foothills of the Blue RidgeMountains sixty-five miles north of downtown Atlanta. Located in the heart of the Georgia Wine Country, itis a town that is rich in history, education, the arts, tourism, recreation and natural beauty. Understandinga bit about the area helps us to see how strategic and important Dahlonega is for a new, gospel-centeredchurch—one that we expect to have far reaching kingdom significance.
The first GoldRush in the US took place in the Dahlonega area in 1828, forty yearsbefore gold was discovered in California. The original town courthouse, which was built in 1836, stands inthe center of the public square, and now houses the Dahlonega Gold Museum. The square, which is onthe National Register of Historic Places, is also home to many unique restaurants, pubs, boutiques, artgalleries, antique shops and more.
Population growth in the Dahlonega area has exceeded national growth by300%, and is projected to continue that trend. After all, Dahlonega is the terminus of GA 400, one of theprimary professional growth corridors in one of the ten largest metro areas in the United States. Alongwith the university and art communities, these “new residents” will be a major target group for the church.Wanting to enjoy the beauty of the area and avoid the daily congestion of the suburbs, many of these newresidents are willing to commute down the 400 corridor toward Atlanta, while others work out of their homes, or in jobs related to the growth of the university, hospital and other businesses. Dahlonega is alsobecoming a popular place for many early retirees who want to enjoy the recreational and educational life-
style opportunities that is available in Dahlonega. As a consequence of this growth, there are already over twenty housing developments underway in the Lumpkin, Dawson, and northwest Hall County area.
Dahlonega is home to North Georgia College and State University
, which is alsoThe Military College of Georgia (one of only six senior military colleges in the United States, along withTexas A&M, Virginia Tech, The Citadel, Virginia Military Institute and Norwich University). Equipping futureleaders in medicine, education, business andart, the university presently enrolls over 6,000students, and is in the process of completing$100 million in campus developments (includ-ing a state-of-the-art library, indoor recreationfacility, additional on-campus housing, andparking deck) in anticipation for a substantialincrease in the student body due to admissionschanges that now allow non-military male stu-dents to live on campus. This growth is not only bringing students to Dahlonega, but also an increase inprofessors, staff and jobs related to other community services.
The 5th Ranger Training Battalion of the U.S. Army is located in Dahlonegaand serves as the “mountain phase” of the Rangers special operations training.
Along with the fine arts department at the university, the local community is a growing center for visual and performing artists. Along with a growing number of visual artists registered with theDahlonega Artist’s Council, popular musicians such as Widespread Panic lead singer/guitarist, John Bell,Sugarland lead singer, Jennifer Nettles, Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls, and Zac Brown of the Zack BrownBand make their home in Dahlonega, along with other lesser known talents who can be found performingat the many local music night spots. Dahlonega is also home to the Buisson Arts Center, which hosts artshowings and offer art classes. There are also several art galleries with active artists, including the BlueGallery, Kryder Gallery and The Olde Cannery Arts Center. An especially prized venue for the performingarts is the Historic Holly Theater, which hosts stage plays, musicals, specials shows, first run movies,concerts and much more, including a children’s theater and troupe (which performs on stage and travelsto national theater competitions).
As the gateway to the mountains of North Georgia,Dahlonega’s thriving tourism industry draws over a million visi-tors annually. The community hosts over ten local festivals ayear, several world-class cycling events each year, a month long“Old Fashioned Christmas” celebration.
Another facet of tourism, as wellas a much beloved local amenity, is the growth of the vineyardindustry in the Dahlonega area, with five local wineries in opera-tion. With scenic views of the mountains, upscale restaurants,festivals, daily wine tasting, live music, and estate living,Dahlonega’s wine industry is changing the face of mountainliving.
In light of the fact that 93% of America’s 285 nonmetropolitain recreational counties gained population in the 90s, Leoard Sweet, in
Soul Tsunami 
, says, “People are migrating to small towns and rural areas, especially ‘recreational counties’ with a recreation andretirement base” (p. 123). That is certainly the case with Dahlonega/Lumpkin County, which has grown by 75% since 1990,and ispoised for continued growth.
NGCSU has been designated
The Leadership Institution of Georgia
DahlonegaNorth Georgia College and State University
Considered to be an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, Dahlonega is surrounded by a mountainous pano-rama that bespeaks the natural beauty of the region. The ChattahoocheNational Forest, over thirty scenic waterfalls (including Amicolola Falls,which at 729 feet is the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi River), nu-merous state parts, rivers, streams, and conservation areas provide un-limited opportunities for hiking, camping, fly-fishing, canoeing, tubing, andkayaking (not to mention the activities available on the nearby 38,000acre Lake Lanier). Other popular outdoor activities include horsebackriding, picnicking, cycling and golf.
Since 1990, the Dahlonega community has experienced a75% growth rate (compared to the US growth rate of 21%), growth whichhas brought a wide diversity of people to the area, including students,professors, artists, merchants, military personnel, retirees, and Atlantacommuters, each who has brought and are bringing a unique flavor mix tothe region.
Although many new residents bring with them a degree of ma-terial wealth, there are many families in Lumpkin County who live withoutrunning water or electricity, and many more who are in need of basic literacy education. These are needsthat reveal a huge opportunity for ministries of mercy and compassion.
Chestatee Regional Hospital in Dahlonega offers a wide rage of medicalspecialties, and is only one of one hundred acute-care hospitals in the United States (out of 6,000) to behonored as a Solucient Top 100 Hospital.
Even though the feel of the community is university, mountain-rural,suburban Atlanta extends its reach to within just thirteen miles of town, where the North Georgia PremiumOutlets (housing 140 high-end retailers) are located on GA 400—a prime destination for Atlanta areashoppers. In fact, the Dahlonega square is only 65 miles from the heart of downtown Atlanta, just 50 milesfrom the I-285 loop, and even closer to the major northern Atlanta suburbs.
In such abeautiful setting with such easy access to metro Atlanta,we foresee a L’abrish type study/retreat center being anoutreach of the church. We believe that a studey center inthe Dahlonega area could be a tremendous gospel-centered resource that would serve not only theDahlonega community, but also the entire region.
Shops on the Historic Town Square
Est. 1832
Target area = 40,000+people
Growth since 1990 =75% (US = 21%)
Projected growththrough 2013 = 12.2%(US = 4.6%)
Top 2 employers:North Georgia Collegeand State Univ. &Chestatee RegionalHospital

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