Closer look at the Ag Center proposal and what it would mean for farmers, the community and tourism.

Closer look at the Ag Center proposal and what it would mean for farmers, the community and tourism.

From the Valley Pike Farm Market’s Pinterest page.

 

On the radio: Carey Harris, who is speaking on the ag center proposal, joins us at 7:40 this morning on Hometown Headlines Radio Edition on WRGA 98.7 FM and online at wrga.streamon.fm.

Hear the presentation: You can watch a Facebook Live update on the ag center by clicking here and here (the most-viewed videos of any presentations to date)

One of the citizen proposals for a new special purpose tax includes highlighting perhaps the region’s oldest industry: agriculture. As presented by Carey K. Harris and a group of area farmers last week, a Floyd County Farmers Market would serve as a cash-flowing “hub” for a number of community interests.

In his presentation, Harris told the tax study commission drafted the 2017 ballot issue agriculture is nearly a $90 million industry (value of what is produced here) with poultry no. 1 at $49 million and cattle no. 2 at $12 million. With a price of more than $9 million, the market would include: A covered farmers market, arena, a  Georgia Grown store, dog park, a coffee shop, a bar, space for food trucks and offices.

The farmers market would be a “better-suited area for local producers to sell their produce.” The coffee shop, ice cream parlor and bar also would help draw visitors – and revenue, according to the report.

The dog park — funded by a previous special tax — finally would have a centralized home.

The design would incorporate space for food trucks with RV-style hook-ups and covered areas.

Uses for the project: It would be the base of agricultural education including gardening and landscaping clinics, animal health and welfare clinics, farm workshops (sustainable farming, credit seminars), a home for livestock shows, 4H events, key meetings (Farm Bureau, Cattlemens Association, town and country dinner.

Offices: It would include space for offices such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, Farm Credit, Farm Bureau and Extension Office.

Management/staffing: Early recommendations include the student enterprises team at Berry College, Shorter and Georgia Northwestern students couple with a manager and an oversight board.

The cost: At 63,000 square feet, the main building could cost $8 million followed by $175,000 for covered areas (16,100 square feet), an eight- to 10-acre campus, design work, paving and fencing. Grand total: $9,050,000. Annual operations: Utilities at $125,000 a year and maintenance at $250,000.

Annual cash-flow estimate: $375,000 from office rentals, Georgia Grown store, rental of the arena and other spots including farmers market and food truck spaces.

What’s next: The tax study commission will review all the project proposals and then form a final package to go before voters on Nov. 7. It is an all-or-nothing vote that would raise $60 million over five years.

RELATED:

The 2017 Floyd County SPLOST Committee hear presentations at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 20, at the Rome Floyd County Fire Department Headquarters located at 409 East 12th Street, Rome. Presentation schedule:

 

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