published Saturday, November 20th, 2010

$15 million from stimulus to build area hotel


by Brittany Cofer

A decadelong effort to bring a hotel and conference center to Walker County received state backing on Friday.

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs will award the county $15 million in recovery zone bonds through stimulus funding intended to jump start economic development, said Larry Brooks, Walker County resource coordinator. The money will be used to create a 150-room hotel and conference center at the Canyon Ridge Club & Resort, a golf community in Lookout Mountain, Ga., he said.

The development is expected to create more than 250 jobs and open up a new economic sector for the area, he said.

"Traditionally the jobs we've relied upon have been heavily geared toward manufacturing, so this really opens up a brand new application for the county within the tourism market," Brooks said. "What it does is just provides diversity within our county."

He said details are still being worked out and it has yet to be determined whether the hotel and conference center will be "more of a luxurious type of destination setting" or "something a little more rustic."

Randy Baker, president of RCG Management Group, which owns Canyon Ridge, said he plans to break ground in March or April of next year, and he envisions the finished product will be a "place to attract businesses and captivate visitors who already come into Walker County but don't have a place to stay."

Brooks said a hearing will be held Nov. 29 to commit the bonds, and by that time more will be known about the scope of the project.

Contact staff writer Brittany Cofer at bcofer@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/brittanycofer.

about Brittany Cofer...

Brittany Cofer is a business reporter who has been with the Chattanooga Times Free Press since January 2010. She previously worked as a general assignment Metro reporter. In the Business department, she covers banking, retail, tourism, consumer issues and green issues. Brittany is from Conyers, Ga., and spent two years at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga., before transferring to the University of Georgia. She graduated from the university’s Grady College of Journalism in December ...

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acerigger said...

This is a joke right? Everybody knows that "Obama's walking around money,slush fund,stimulus didn't create jobs". The money for this project surely came from some other source, like tax-cuts for the rich?

November 20, 2010 at 12:15 p.m.
acerigger said...

Oh, I just noticed, it's a GOLF club and resort! That explains everything. Stimulus good!

November 20, 2010 at 3:34 p.m.
risingpines said...

Reports of jobs "created" by stimulus funds have been questioned repeatedly.

Think about it..150 rooms...250 jobs. That comes out at 1.5 employees per room. That equals great room service and a RIDICULOUS use of our hard earned tax dollars.

November 20, 2010 at 9:57 p.m.
vote4gop said...

Only a government official could claim the residents of the county are not paying for this, since it is federal money. Where do they think federal money comes from?

November 22, 2010 at 10:49 a.m.
lightenin said...

How does a PRIVATE club go about getting stimulus monies? "Honey, lets go up on the mountain to stay and spend money playing golf, and we are stimulating the economy at the same time at the PRIVATE resort...wait, would you like to stay in a Luxurious or Rustic place??????"
This is such TOTALLY RIDICULOUS IDEA!!! The country is busted..broke and we are spending stimulus monies on a freakin PRIVATE resort!...property that some of the county leaders have a personal investment in?...hhhmmmm????

November 22, 2010 at 8:55 p.m.
alohaboy said...

These are Build America Bonds that are the same as local municipal bonds except the interest is taxable and the federal government pays the state or local issuer 45% of the interest cost for the bonds. The $15 million isn't from the feds it's from a local bond issue.

November 22, 2010 at 9:39 p.m.
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