In collaboration with the Appalachian Regional Commission, DCA awarded $ 300,000 to Hall County to assist with the purchase of approximately 100 acres of land surrounding the historic Healan’s Mill. ARC’s investment will be matched with $ 305,000 in local funds – Hall County and a local non-profit, Friends of Healan’s Mill - in addition to funds the county has already invested to stabilize the historic mill. The mill was originally used as a power source to grind crops, manufacture shingles, gin cotton, and turn timber into boards. It is the last stranding grist mill in Hall County and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The County currently owns the 4-acre tract of land where the mill is located but the acquisition of the additional 100 acres will provide visitors’ access to this cultural and historic asset. Its location at the southernmost point of the Blue Ridge Mountains provides an ideal site for long-terms plans for an Appalachian Regional Welcome Center. Future plans also include the construction of trails and interpretive exhibits to connect to the welcome center.
The project is included in Georgia’s 2017 ARC Investment Strategy and aligns with ARC’s goal to strengthen Appalachia’s community and economic development potential by leveraging the region’s natural and cultural heritage assets. DCA’s investment through the ARC program will strengthen Healan’s Mill as a tourism asset and plays a critical step in allowing the county and the local non-profit trust to implement their vision to preserve and enhance an important and historic Appalachian cultural asset.