-Future of Dahlonega predicted by Nugget contributors

Ever wonder what life in Dahlonega will be like a decade from now? Well, wonder no more.

Because The Nugget is beginning  the New Year with a far-reaching look into the future of 2029 as a wide range of readers, leaders and local experts predict the biggest developments of the next ten years.

What will the square look like? How big will the university get? What will be the biggest and best changes?

From monorails to moon elevators, here are all the answers:

 

What will be the biggest change in our town in 2029?

Kurt Thomas — Country music artist

Dahlonega will have become the new bluegrass headquarters of the world thanks to Dahlonega’s own “Ugly Cousin” and on the square a huge statue will stand of Ugly Cousin members Erick Jones, Roman Gaddis, Adam Rambin, Derrick Gaddis, and Patrick Chisholm

 

Rick Nielsen — Dahlonega Action Dogs Trainer

The increase of traffic and people into the county, from the continued growth and expansion of UNG and the encroaching sprawl of businesses north along GA 400 from Dawsonville.

 

Tommye Scanlin — Tapestry artist

There will be a wonderful new large grocery store that has just opened!

 

Steven Leibel — Attorney

Increased growth in Dawson County will create new demands for housing in this area. However, without appropriate infrastructure-internet and water sewer, there will be a lack of business development causing increasing funding problems for local governments due to tax advantages given to seniors.

 

Gary B Hulsey — Frequent letter writer

Solar panels on all commercial buildings and numerous wind turbines dot Lumpkin County.

 

Rhett Stringer — County Commissioner

Growth from 60 south on 400

 

Tracey Thomaswick — Library Manager

I believe that we will see an increase in population and to support that growth, we will be adding infrastructure and greater resources for shopping, eating, and economic growth.  I believe that we will either have built or will need to build another elementary school and another middle school at least.

 

Jason Lemley — LCHS Assistant Principal

I am very hopeful that we will see a new hospital, new aquatic center, and some serious growth at the end of the 400 corridor.  In the next 10 years, I am confident we will have at least one new grocery store option and several restaurants and retail opportunities in that area.

 

Rob Brown — Schools Superintendent

A new hospital located on Hwy 400 drives the development of commercial growth. With the addition of a Super Target, a Lowes, a Quick Trip gas station, a TJ Maxx, and the state's largest Ingles grocery store, Lumpkin residents can now purchase items while keeping tax dollars at home.

 

Stacy Jarrard — Sheriff

I look for more growth due to the near future businesses that will be coming to the Ga 400 area.

 

Dr. Bonita Jacobs — UNG President

There will be population and business growth as the community attracts residents who want the lifestyle that Dahlonega and Lumpkin County can offer.

 

Mike Davenport — UNG Softball Coach

By the year 2029 Dahlonega/Lumpkin County will see the advancement of the 400/60 corridor bringing a new hospital-restaurants-hotels-business centers which will provide great support to the local economy as well as school systems seeing a financial benefit.

 

Jasper Skogman — Nugget coloring contest winner

I think there will be solar power and driverless cars. And half the employees in the town’s shops will be autonomous robots.

 

Sam Norton - Dahlonega Mayor

The biggest change in Dahlonega in the year 2029 will be the effects of growth to our rural community. We are already seeing a tremendous increase of interest in both commercial and residential developers wanting to build in Dahlonega. This trend will only continue as surrounding counties raise fees and become less attractive to potential developers.

 

Chuck Jones — philanthropist and football picker

Expansion of hospital facilities and medical practices, development of Hwy 115/400 to support retail businesses, and population growth to 45,000

 

 

What will be the best development?

 

Kurt Thomas — Country music artist

New 10-story parking deck for all the visitors 

 

Rick Nielsen — Dahlonega Action Dogs Trainer

County revenue will improve as the tax base expands, and services will improve correspondingly.  We will have good internet service, and roads and other infrastructure will be upgraded.  We will get underground utilities and the network of exposed power poles and lines will be removed.

 

Tommye Scanlin — Tapestry artist

The aforementioned new grocery store!

 

Steven Leibel — Attorney

The best development will be the construction of health care facilities at 400 and Ga 60. This may spur medical office, and quality healthcare along with UNG teaching opportunities.

 

Gary B Hulsey — Frequent letter writer

REI locates a warehouse and retail store at 400/hwy60 intersection, employing a substantial workforce.

 

Rhett Stringer — County Commissioner

Hospital and all that it brings with it.

 

Tracey Thomaswick — Library Manager

An improved infrastructure and businesses that stay open later in the evening and on weekends and provide a greater variety of resources.  Our schools will continue to show high test scores.

 

John Gerheim — Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee

New construction allowing for increased tax revenues.

 

Jason Lemley — LCHS Assistant Principal

If the county, college, and school system can work together to build an aquatic center for our community, I believe that will be the best development.

 

Rob Brown — Schools Superintendent

Upscale condo living located behind Wendy's gives millennials a viable lifestyle option in downtown Dahlonega. Amenities include a community pool, bike trails, tennis courts, a fitness center, a sushi bar, gourmet pizza, a Whole Foods Market, and over 100 permanently placed selfie sticks to capture that special moment in the most picturesque locations.

 

Stacy Jarrard — Sheriff

Northeast Georgia Hospital and medical complex

 

Dr. Bonita Jacobs — UNG President

The growth of healthcare services and businesses along Highway 400 near its intersection with Highway 60.

 

Mike Davenport — UNG Softball Coach

The best development in 2029 will be the new hospital which will serve the north Georgia area bringing many jobs to the area as well as providing opportunities for the UNG medical professional/educational development programs.

 

Jasper Skogman — Nugget coloring contest winner

The college

 

Sam Norton - Dahlonega Mayor

Some will say the best development to our town will be the large super grocery store with every choice in stock that will eventually come to Dahlonega. I believe the most impactful developments will be in the health care field with the promise of the new hospital at Hwy 60/400.

 

Chuck Jones — philanthropist and football picker

Development of 400 corridor and medical services

 

 

What will be the worst (i.e most challenging) development?

 

Kurt Thomas — Country music artist

The new sugarfree 0 calorie blizzard at Dairy Queen 

 

Rick Nielsen — Dahlonega Action Dogs Trainer

The influx of people into the county will challenge our lifestyle, with the associated traffic, affordable housing, and infrastructure.  The water system will require substantial upgrading as usage expands.

 

Tommye Scanlin — Tapestry artist

Trying to get a parking space at the newly opened grocery store!

 

Steven Leibel — Attorney

Sound generating developments such as the new development on Forestar land will create traffic, and sound issues, along with law enforcement challenges.

 

Gary B Hulsey — Frequent letter writer

Our county hosts 23 Serenity shops offering vaping paraphernalia and cannabis and other euphorogenic derivatives, along with the State’s free rations of suma, a complacency drug.

 

Rhett Stringer — County Commissioner

Development in residential and agricultural areas

 

Tracey Thomaswick — Library Manager

Increased population is a two-edged sword.  We will need to continue to provide economic growth for a diversified population—many different socio-economic groups will have different needs that must be met.  In addition, trying to retain a strong workforce, being able to pay our quality teachers what they are worth, and to try to entice young people to stay in Lumpkin County.

 

John Gerheim — Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee

Increased number of governmental regulations encroaching on citizens’ freedoms.

 

Jason Lemley — LCHS Assistant Principal

People have been working on developing the end of 400 for many years now.  I believe when the new hospital is built in that area, the rest will come in time.  Since the hospital is not there yet, and that area has been a topic for more than a decade, I believe that development to be the most challenging.  I will believe it when I see it; I just hope to see it soon.

 

Rob Brown — Schools Superintendent

Traffic is a challenge. It now takes almost 10 minutes to drive across town, but the soon to be completed cross-town monorail will ease car traffic.

 

Stacy Jarrard — Sheriff

Parking

 

Dr. Bonita Jacobs — UNG President

The number of new residents and businesses will require careful planning and expanded services, including a variety of housing options, transportation improvements, internet access, and increased retail opportunities.

 

Mike Davenport — UNG Softball Coach

With the advancement of the 400/60 area – the road systems will become the greatest challenge to accommodate the influx of visitors to the area.

 

Jasper Skogman — Nugget coloring contest winner

Expanding the city will be challenging

 

Sam Norton - Dahlonega Mayor

Without a doubt the most challenging development in downtown Dahlonega will be the increased traffic and lack of parking from residential, student, and commercial growth.

 

Chuck Jones — philanthropist and football picker

Economic disparity with 13 to 20 percent economically disadvantaged, shortage of skilled or work ready labor, continuing issue with opioid abuse, sufficient employment opportunities to retain educated workforce that attended technical or university training

 

 

What will be the most far-out futuristic development?

 

Kurt Thomas — Country music artist

Virtual reality tour of Dahlonega’s famous gold mines

 

Rick Nielsen — Dahlonega Action Dogs Trainer

Self-driving cars will be the norm.  And, as a bonus answer, there will be a serious transition to renewable energy at the home-owner level, as solar and geothermal power become more affordable.

 

Tommye Scanlin — Tapestry artist

Electric and flying car spaces at the newly opened grocery store!

 

Steven Leibel — Attorney

Unfortunately, there will be none as long as infrastructure is stilted.

 

Gary B Hulsey — Frequent letter writer

The 2018-built UNG conference center is used primarily for Party rallies and occasional re-education sessions when a large number of citizens have committed minor offenses against the State.

 

Rhett Stringer — County Commissioner

Underground bypass under Dahlonega on 52/9 Morrison Moore

 

Tracey Thomaswick — Library Manager

That a method of mass transit will be more easily accessible to residents of Lumpkin County—perhaps a MARTA station at the southern end of the county?  I can also envision a state-of-the-art medical community that would include oncological, surgical, and high-tech imagery and diagnostic capabilities.

 

John Gerheim — Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee

Development of new fun and entertainment venues to attract tourists.

 

Jason Lemley — LCHS Assistant Principal

I am not worried that Dahlonega will experience any far-out futuristic developments.  We will remain a small, quaint community with a small-town feel.

 

Rob Brown — Schools Superintendent

Lumpkin County becomes the first to eliminate property taxes and to become fully self-reliant upon sales tax.

 

Stacy Jarrard — Sheriff

It will be at the 400/60 area.

 

Dr. Bonita Jacobs — UNG President

Autonomous vehicles or some other form of transportation advancement that makes it easier to commute to other cities when necessary.

 

Mike Davenport — UNG Softball Coach

The UNG Nighthawks will be entering year 5 of competing in College Football and making their first trip to the NCAA DII National Championship. College football fans from all over the state of Georgia will opt for a beautiful fall afternoon walking around the square in Dahlonega (much better than Athens or Atlanta) on their way to the game on Saturdays to enjoy the new state of the art stadium (location TBD) – averaging 65,000 fans each weekend enjoying the Nighthawks rise to the top scoring 55 points per game under the leadership of Hall of Famer Steve Spurrier—We want Bama!

 

Jasper Skogman — Nugget coloring contest winner

Moon elevators and the Dahlonega space port

 

Sam Norton — Dahlonega Mayor

The much needed futuristic development will be the yet to be named internet service provider that finally steps up and satisfies our online demands county wide.

 

Chuck Jones — philanthropist and football picker

Expansion of the STEM fields at UNG will provide opportunity especially in Physics or IT. It will be related to those areas.

 

 

What will UNG look like?

 

Kurt Thomas — Country music artist

I expect the same only much much bigger

 

Rick Nielsen — Dahlonega Action Dogs Trainer

Bigger.  Much bigger.

 

Tommye Scanlin — Tapestry artist

It will have a fly-over bridge for the safety of the students and faculty going to the newly opened grocery store!

 

Steven Leibel — Attorney

Ask Gainesville. All of the growth will be moved towards that city, and Cumming.

 

Gary B Hulsey — Frequent letter writer

All military markings are UN insignia. With all instruction online, group study pods with surveillance audio/video have replaced classrooms. Personal hovercrafts have replaced bikes on campus.

 

Tracey Thomaswick — Library Manager

I hope by this point in time, UNG will have bought land outside of the city limits—giving them room to grow and the city to keep more of the local flavor.  In addition, UNG will start supporting the community in more visible and tangible ways—creating a true college town.

 

John Gerheim — Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee

More dorms and classrooms and hopefully a football team.

 

Jason Lemley — LCHS Assistant Principal

Can UNG get any larger?  Or is that a loaded question?  I am very thankful for UNG and their growth in Dahlonega and Lumpkin County.  We are lucky to have a university of its stature in our town!  I do believe that UNG will expand on its other campuses as the years go by but I am not sure how it will grow larger in Lumpkin County.

 

Rob Brown — Schools Superintendent

With a student population on the Dahlonega campus exceeding 20,000 students, UNG continues to thrive with the best and brightest students in Georgia choosing to make Dahlonega their home.

 

Stacy Jarrard — Sheriff

UNG will continue to grow and have more students and more parking decks.

 

Dr. Bonita Jacobs — UNG President

UNG’s Dahlonega Campus will be much like it is now, with about 8,000 students, including a growing number of graduate-level students.  Hopefully, the campus will include new buildings for the Mike Cottrell College of Business and the College of Science and Mathematics.

 

Jasper Skogman — Nugget coloring contest winner

It’ll just be way bigger

 

Sam Norton - Dahlonega Mayor

UNG will hopefully continue to grow but not at the expense of downtown and in a more westerly direction including the already owned 200+ acres on Radar Ridge.

 

Chuck Jones — philanthropist and football picker

More students will move to online classes; Physics, Information Technology, Language, and international research partnerships will be main drivers; student fee per hour will increase but physical footprint will remain similar except for replacement facilities; UNG Baseball and Softball will be National Champions in NCAA DII

 

 

What will the downtown square look like?

 

Kurt Thomas — Country music artist

If I have my way the square will not have changed one bit (except the Ugly Cousin statue of course)

 

Rick Nielsen — Dahlonega Action Dogs Trainer

Downtown will be more tourist-friendly, with shops and boutiques that cater to more people.  The antique malls and consignment shops will be replaced with unique restaurants and specialty stores.

 

Tommye Scanlin — Tapestry artist

It will be more crowded because more people have moved here because they suddenly have additional choices of grocery shopping with the newly opened grocery store!

 

Steven Leibel — Attorney

It will have a new hotel, and a roof bar.

 

Gary B Hulsey — Frequent letter writer

The beauty and charm of variety and uniqueness are gone. The square has drab décor and common storefronts with only signs to differentiate – Eatery 21, Clothing 17, Foodstuff 09, etc.

 

Tracey Thomaswick — Library Manager

More green spaces with more parking.  A small concert venue.  More local businesses.  

 

John Gerheim — Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee

Removal of all traffic with additional parking around the perimeter

 

Jason Lemley — LCHS Assistant Principal

I pray that the square looks exactly as it does today!  The square has changed very little in the last 10 years, and I think we all want to preserve that look and feel for as long as we can.  Even with the new hotel on the northern part of the square, I am hopeful that the aesthetics change very little.

 

Rob Brown — Schools Superintendent

With Christmas lights staying up year round, Dahlonega has become known as the 365 Days of Christmas location for travelers from all across the world.

 

Stacy Jarrard — Sheriff

I think there will be a major difference in the landscape of the downtown area. I think it will cater even more to foot traffic. I  just hope the crosswalks will be more illuminated than now.

 

Dr. Bonita Jacobs — UNG President

One of Dahlonega’s strengths is its downtown square, and I think it will remain similar to its current state, though maybe complemented by additional housing options, entertainment venues, and more retail and restaurants.

 

Mike Davenport — UNG Softball Coach

My hope is the Dahlonega square will look much like it does today – there is something unique about this little north Georgia mountain town.  The balance of history and patriotism in Dahlonega is second to none – I cherish the mornings walking through town and sitting at Woody’s Barber Shop listening to today’s generation of defenders of our Freedom share stories with yesterday’s generation of military leaders – you won’t find that anywhere else in the world.

 

Jasper Skogman — Nugget coloring contest winner

I suppose it might stay the same because it’s historic but maybe some of the buildings will have an extra story on them.

 

Sam Norton - Dahlonega Mayor

The downtown square will look much like it does today but with modern infrastructure, ample parking, and a microbrewery.

 

Chuck Jones — philanthropist and football picker

New hotel facility at the previous Parks building will expand opportunity. Smith House renovation but we will see a similar footprint as we have today.

 

 

Who will be mayor?

 

Kurt Thomas — Country music artist

I predict Chris Smith will be mayor but Gerri Smith will be the true brains of the operation.

 

Rick Nielsen — Dahlonega Action Dogs Trainer

Easy—Matt Aiken

 

Tommye Scanlin — Tapestry artist

Sam Norton, because he was credited with spearheading the completed project for the newly opened grocery store!

 

Steven Leibel — Attorney

In 2029 there will be combined city county government.

 

Gary B Hulsey — Frequent letter writer

Casey Cagle retires to Dahlonega and makes a startling political comeback.

 

Rhett Stringer — County Commissioner

Someone outside of politics currently

 

Tracey Thomaswick — Library Manager

Probably a Grizzle, a Lingerfelt, or a Self!

 

John Gerheim — Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee

Someone currently thinking about running for county commissioner.

 

Jason Lemley — LCHS Assistant Principal

Sam Norton is poised to be a long-time mayor in Dahlonega. My entire family appreciates Sam very much, and we will always be a supporter.

 

Rob Brown — Schools Superintendent

Sam Norton of course.

 

Stacy Jarrard — Sheriff

Who knows at this time. We might even be consolidated. (Ha Ha, just a funny note there.) I don't know how anyone could predict that. I think the city residents will make the best choice.

 

Dr. Bonita Jacobs — UNG President

Chuck Jones

 

Mike Davenport — UNG Softball Coach

My belief is Jim Stewart (aka Mr. Nighthawks/Mr. Indians) will be the Mayor of Dahlonega narrowly beating Chris Faulkner in a run-off…wink, wink.

 

Sam Norton - Dahlonega Mayor

The Mayor in 2029 will hopefully be someone that can tame lions, hand out candy, and control the weather. All are a job requirement.

 

Chuck Jones — philanthropist and football picker

Sam Norton (young enough to serve an additional 11 years)

 

 

And, just for fun, who will be president?

 

Kurt Thomas — Country music artist

For president, I expect Zac Brown with Radford Windham as Vice President and they will have their special front table at Shenanigans to enjoy a great Kurt Thomas show who still enjoys playing there (and the crack dip!)

 

Rick Nielsen — Dahlonega Action Dogs Trainer

Well, the two-party system is not working well, and a third party may emerge.  And, like the 1830s and 40s, when the Federalist party died to be replaced by the Whigs as a precursor to the Republican party of Lincoln, the current Republican party may give way similarly to a transitional party.  So these possibilities lead to the inevitability of Zack Tumlin being the 48th.

 

Tommye Scanlin — Tapestry artist

Whoever recognizes and supports the people of Dahlonega/Lumpkin Co. who would appreciate the right to additional choices when shopping for groceries in Dahlonega/ Lumpkin County.  This is not to say that the grocery stores we have now are bad, it is just that other small towns in our area have more choices than we have, and often more choices are to the benefit of the entire community.

 

Gary B Hulsey — Frequent letter writer

With Georgia’s economy on fire for a decade and his relentless battle against federal tyranny, Brian Kemp sweeps 48 of 50 states, losing California and New York.

 

Rhett Stringer — County Commissioner

Trey Gowdy

 

Tracey Thomaswick — Library Manager

Hopefully, Mike Pence.

 

John Gerheim — Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee

Hopefully someone with the guts and moxie to put national safety and the citizens first before party politics and self-benefits.

 

Jason Lemley — LCHS Assistant Principal

Cory Booker.  I’ll leave it at that without any further commentary from me.

 

Rob Brown — Schools Superintendent

After winning his 15th National Championship as the football coach at Alabama, Nick Saban is elected president. Despite not being an official candidate, write-in votes from across the country propelled him to victory as fans from every other college team simply wanted him gone from college football.

 

Stacy Jarrard — Sheriff

Someone from Texas. Sugar Lips Gooch might even make a run for it. Go Gooch for President!

 

Dr. Bonita Jacobs — UNG President

Maybe a UNG alumnus!

 

Mike Davenport — UNG Softball Coach

Without a doubt I believe Tim Tebow will get my vote to be President in 2029 bringing the country’s priority of Christianity back to the forefront—Go Red, White and Blue…(and Orange)—Chomp, chomp!

 

Sam Norton - Dahlonega Mayor

The President in the year 2029 will be a local upstart candidate previously unknown on the national scene but known well locally – Kevin Tanner or Steve Gooch

 

Chuck Jones — philanthropist and football picker

If it is a Democrat: Julian Castro, if it is a Republican Benjamin: E. (Ben) Sasse

Second Slider: 

The Dahlonega Nugget

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 36,
Dahlonega, GA 30533

Phone: 706-864-3613
Fax: 706-864-5812