NWGRC 2023 Recap

NWGRC's Area Agency on Aging (AAA), Planning and Community and Economic Development, and WorkSource Northwest Georgia offices had a very successful and active 2023.  As we look to a new year, NWGRC wanted to provide a recap of the many services provided to our communities throughout 2023.

Northwest Georgia Area Agency on Aging

The Georgia Department of Human Resources has designated the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission as the Area Agency on Aging (AAA). In this capacity, the Regional Commission plans, coordinates, and administers programs for older and disabled Georgians throughout the planning and service area. An Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council, which includes consumers, advises on senior programs. The provision of services is administered by the AAA through contracts with service provider agencies.

Program Highlights for 2023:

  • 1,030 new clients were removed from waitlists and referred to Home and Community Based Services.
  • Information and referral through Aging and Disability Resource Connection totaled 28,761 assists, including referrals to Georgia Elderly Legal Assistance Program.
  • Assessments conducted and referrals made for 407 to Elderly and Disabled Waiver Program.
  • 554,518 meals provided to congregate and homebound clients.
  • 7 Senior Hunger Grants awarded in 4 Northwest Counties (Gilmer, Floyd, Paulding, and Whitfield).
  • Senior Farmers Market program served over 846 individuals with $50 each of fresh produce.
  • 252 consumers participated in virtual and in-person evidence-based programs such as Tai Chi, Chronic Disease Self-Management and Matter of Balance.
  • 629 clients served through AAA Case Management Program.
  • 14 clients served through Support Options. Support Options is a self-directed program which allows older persons at risk of Nursing Home placement to actively participate in managing individual budgets and decisions regarding what combination of services will best meet their needs at home.
  • 23 clients received support to transition from a long-term care facility back into the community.
  • 40 clients received Adult Day Health for a total of 15,112 hours.
  • 90 clients received In-Home Homemaker Services for a total of 11,343 hours.
  • 80 Caregivers received In and Out of Home Respite Care for a total of 22,000 hours.
  • $122,738 in material aid was distributed, serving 317 clients. Material aid includes groceries, incontinence supplies, utility payments, assistive technology, Durable Medical Equipment, pest control, emergency response buttons, etc.
  • 5,583 transportation trips were coordinated through local transit systems and two in-home service providers for quality-of-life visits such as medical visits, grocery store, etc.
  • 205 caregivers were served through programs such as Dementia Friends, Powerful Tools for Caregivers and Dealing with Dementia.
  • 118 Participants served through the Second Wind Dream’s Virtual Dementia Tour in 4 different counties: Bartow, Chattooga, Floyd, and Gilmer.
  • Distributed Scent Preservation Kits to individuals living with Alzheimer’s or dementia through partnership with North Georgia Elder Abuse Task Force and local law enforcement.
  • Grandparents Raising Grandchildren continues to provide support groups, training and community education opportunities for grandparents who are raising grandchildren.
  • Minor home modifications necessary to facilitate the ability of an older adult to remain at home were provided through the installation of 11 wheelchair ramps.
Northwest Georgia Area Agency on Aging
Northwest Georgia Area Agency on Aging

The Northwest Georgia Regional Commission assists local governments with preparing Federal and State grant-in-aid and loan applications to support economic and industrial development, water and sewer improvements, health centers, senior citizen centers, recreational improvements, historic preservation, local government efficiency assessments, and solid waste management projects.

In 2023, NWGRC as the Local Development District assisted with 8 ARC grant applications requesting $3,618,200 in grant funds and 13 non-ARC Community and Economic Development projects requesting $6,298,118 in grant funds; compiled or updated six joint comprehensive plans; and provided demographic and employment data to each of our member governments.

Number of Projects
$ Amount
ARC Grants
ARC Full Applications Submitted 2023
Community Development Grants
Assistance to Firefighters (AFG)
Land/Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
GA EPD Tire Recycling Grant
GA 100 Atlanta United Foundation
GA Rural Workforce Housing
GA Initiative Community Housing (GICH)
No $, Technical Assistance


2023 FUNDED Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Applications

  • Tooga Theater Renovation Plan, Chattooga County. Funding to engage an architect for development of a renovation plan for the historic Tooga Theater. Total project cost of $175,000. Requested ARC funds of $140,000; local match of $35,000 (Chattooga Co. is an ARC “Distressed” County)
  • LaFayette WPCP Improvements, City of LaFayette- Replace existing aeration basin equipment at the Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP). It will maintain the treatment capacity necessary for anticipated community and economic growth, and will improve energy efficacy. Total project cost of $2,667,000. Requested ARC funds of $750,000; local match of $1,917,000. (Walker Co. is an ARC “Transitional” County)
  • Lookout Mountain Trail Plan, City of Lookout Mountain—Development of a community-wide trails plan to tie the City’s many assets to the regional trail system, thereby enhancing tourism and encouraging economic growth. Total project cost of $75,000. Requested ARC funds of $37,500; local match of $37,500. (Walker Co. is an ARC “Transitional” County)
  • Downtown Cedartown Corridor Enhancement Project – Phase 1, City of Cedartown--Enhance three areas of Downtown Cedartown to create accessibility, improve pedestrian safety, minimize disruption to parking, support existing and new businesses, and create a cohesive and consistent streetscape. Total project cost of $1,769,956; Requested $1,000,000 of ARC funds; local match of $769,956. (Polk Co. is an ARC “At-Risk” County)
  • Dade County Water and Sewer Authority (WSA) Vanguard Industrial Road and SR 299 Water Main Upgrades, Dade County WSA--Extend the existing 8” water main north of Trenton to the Georgia-Tennessee State line with 3,400 LF of cement line. Install 3,600 LF of 6” cement line along SR 299 at the Wildwood Exit to improve system hydraulics and provide adequate water flow. Total project cost of $1,191,400. Requested $595,700 of ARC funds; local match of $595,700. (Dade Co. is an ARC “Transitional” County)
  • City of Tallapoosa Downtown Master Plan, City of Tallapoosa—Procurement of a firm to develop a Downtown Master Plan to bolster economic development and enhance the downtown area. The plan will serve as a blueprint to direct growth, investment, tourism, and development in the downtown area over the next decade, while maintaining Tallapoosa’s historic character and unique identity. Total project cost of $80,000; Requested $40,000 of ARC funds; local match of $40,000. (Haralson Co. is an ARC “Transitional” County).
  • City of Cartersville Downtown Master Plan, Cartersville Downtown Development Authority—Procure a firm to develop a strategy to expand the downtown’s appeal, visibility, resilience, and inclusivity, for businesses, residents, and visitors. Total project cost of $95,000. Requested $47,500 of ARC funds requested of $47,500; local match of $47,500. (Bartow Co. is an ARC “Transitional” County)
  • Perrow Park Redevelopment Project, Phase I, City of Jasper--Transform this downtown-adjacent site into an active park and event space known as Perrow Park. This phase provides grading and site development, including stormwater control features, construction of an amphitheater, public restrooms, ADA-accessible parking, and a gravel public parking lot. Total project cost of $2,056,960. Requested $1,000,000 of ARC funds; local match of $1,056,960. (Pickens Co. is an ARC “Transitional” County)


  • Battlefield Connector Multi-Use Trail, Walker County--Construction of a 5,000 LF multi-use pathway for pedestrian and cyclist connectivity from the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Chickamauga Battlefield, to downtown Chickamauga. The project will draw visitors from the Chickamauga Battlefield to historic downtown Chickamauga, extending their historic tourism experience by providing safe access along the mile-long trail connection. Total project cost of $868,282. Requested $434,141 of ARC funds; local match of $434,141. (Walker Co. is an ARC “Transitional” County)
  • Historic District Water and Storm Water System Improvements, City of Fort Oglethorpe—Replace and upgrade selected water lines and replace inadequate stormwater infrastructure in the City’s historic downtown. This project will ensure a reliable water supply, enhanced water quality, and improved stormwater capacity and management. Total project cost of $4,232,600. Requested $1,000,000 of ARC funds requested; local match of $3,232,600. (Walker Co. is an ARC “Transitional” County)


The Southeast Tennessee Development District is coordinating a multi-state effort with Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi and has applied for Appalachian Regional Commission ARISE funds for the DRIVE 2.0 EV project to provide support and technical assistance to ARC counties in these states. The Northwest Georgia Regional Commission is partnering with SETDD and will serve as lead for Georgia’s ARC counties in the project.


Currently, there are twenty-eight (28) active ARC development projects in Northwest Georgia. These projects represent applications approved in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023.

Northwest Georgia has no open POWER Projects.


NWGRC submitted five (5) applications for LWCF projects. Two applications are pending with total project costs of $1,579,000.


NWGRC assisted two counties with submissions for participation in the GICH program. Catoosa County (and its municipalities, Fort Oglethorpe, and Ringgold) was selected for the program. It joins twelve other local governments in the region that are currently, or were previously, active in the program.


After Governor Kemp brought the issue of workforce housing to the forefront of economic development in Georgia, the General Assembly created and funded RWHI in the 2023 Session. To date, NWGRC has assisted two cities with applications requesting a total of $4 million for infrastructure development for housing needs. Both applications are pending.


NWGRC assisted the City of Rossville with the successful application requesting grant funds of $163,116.00.


The City of Cedartown was awarded $245,337 for the installation of a poured-in-place recycled tire surface at Peek Park Playground.


NWGRC assisted the Greater Dalton Chamber Foundation with an application for $100,000 for the development of a 60’ x 90’ mini soccer pitch. Local funds of $132,320 will serve as a match if the application is approved.


The Northwest Georgia Regional Commission (NWGRC) administers a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program that provides business finance assistance through the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to facilitate small business development. RLF staff work on behalf of small businesses to provide financing for start-ups and expansions, information and referral services, and technical assistance. The NWGRC packages, closes, and services its EDA-RLF loan portfolio in the fifteen-county Northwest Georgia Regional Commission area.

The Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program has grown from the original funding of $550,000 in 1981 to a loan fund with total assets of over $1.5 million by reinvesting payments to the fund. Since its inception, NWGRC’s RLF has provided/committed financing for 96 businesses; this includes creating/retaining over 1,300 jobs, and a total investment of over $22.5 million in Northwest Georgia.

In July of 2020, the NWGRC was awarded additional RLF funds from EDA to capitalize a new Revolving Loan Fund to alleviate the sudden and severe economic dislocation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, to provide permanent resources to its region to support economic resiliency, and to further the long term economic adjustment objectives of its 15-county region.  The program has closed and funded 10 loans totaling $250,800.

Partnership with Georgia’s Rural Center

Staff assisted Georgia’s Rural Center with stakeholder engagement, route assessment and mapping, and preparation of a draft Scenic Byways Corridor Management Plan for Gilmer, Pickens, and Dawson Counties, in coordination with Georgia Mountains Regional Commission.


Date Held
Workshop Title
ARC Funding Workshop - Cartersville
The purpose of the workshop is to provide important ARC and GEFA updates, share ARC application deadlines, discuss available funding, match funds, project management, and how to request Regional Commission assistance regarding the types of projects and funding availability to local governments interested in applying for ARC.
Patrick Vicers, DCA Sue Long, ARC Time Knoepke, ARC Laura Snell, ARC Lexi Oliva, ARC Annaka Woodruff, ARC Brittany Pittman, ARC Amanda Carroll, GEFA Samantha Bishop, NWGRC
Trents in Housing Workshop - Rome
Housing demand is a growing concern across the country, and it is a priority for Governor Kemp and his administration, Monica Callahan, Planning & Development Director of the City of Madison addressed multiple housing issues. This included: 1) the housing spectrum, 2) driving economic development with blue and green infrastructure, and 3) 21st Century urban renewal.
Monica Callahan, City of Madison
Trends in Housing Workshop - Blue Ridge
Housing demand is a growing concern across the country, and it is a priority for Governor Kemp and his administration. Monical Callahan, Planning & Development Director of the City of Madison addressed multiple housing issues. This included: 1) blending and balancing economic and housing objectives, 2) assuring housing opportunities for a high quality of life, and 3) housing policy and nuanced decision making.
Monica Callahan, City of Madison



Staff provided technical assistance to communities including Blue Ridge, Chatsworth, Lookout Mountain, Buchanan, and others to update, amend, and/or implement the local zoning ordinance. Staff administers the Dalton-Whitfield County-Varnell ULDC. NWGRC staff serves on the Board of the Georgia Association of Zoning Administrators. They provide a range of training, technical assistance, and general advice to local governments to update and administer zoning, land use, and development ordinances; they assist counties and municipalities in the implementation of the goals/vision established in their adopted Comprehensive Plans. This service is provided through local service contracts, which are currently in place with four member governments.

Staff coordinated with the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government to provide two Planning and Zoning 101 workshops presented by Chrissy Marlowe at the Georgia Highlands College Cartersville Campus. Fifty-three local planning commission members and local elected and appointed officials attended the session on March 20, 2023; forty-two attended on July 20, 2023.


Staff assisted counties and cities to prepare mandated Joint Comprehensive Plans for coordinated planning and implementation, including the following:

  • Joint Comprehensive Plan for Bartow County and Municipalities (Adairsville, Cartersville, Emerson, Euharlee, Kingston, Taylorsville, and White)
  • Joint Comprehensive Plan for Gordon County and Municipalities (Calhoun, Fairmount, Plainville, and Resaca)
  • Joint Comprehensive Plan for Pickens County and Municipalities (Jasper, Nelson, and Talking Rock)
  • Joint Comprehensive Plan for Murray County and Municipalities (Chatsworth and Eton)
  • Joint Comprehensive Plan for Whitfield County and Municipalities (Cohutta, Dalton, Tunnel Hill, and Varnell)
  • Annual Capital Improvement Element Update for Gilmer County and Municipalities (Ellijay and East Ellijay)


The Northwest Georgia Regional Plan and the Regionally Important Resources plan updates are underway. These identify NWGRC’s critical historic, environmental, natural, and cultural resources, and update regional growth patterns and priority issues with a regional work program for the next five years. The Regional Plan included four public stakeholder meetings with 38 participants, and a regional survey with over 340 responses. Both updates will be completed by June 2024.


Staff coordinated state-mandated reviews for twelve projects of regional impact; of those, there were four housing and four industrial projects.


In 2023, NWGRC collaborated with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), and several consultants on the creation of a Regional Transit Development Plan (TDP). The Regional TDP will evaluate the options of supporting transit services on a regional scale.

NWGRC provides bicycle, pedestrian, and transit assistance through contracts with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT); planning includes Safe Routes to School and Complete Streets policy and design assistance, coordinating transportation planning with the five Metropolitan Planning Organizations and individual governments, and local and regional transit planning and coordination.


The NWGRC provides staff support to the North Georgia Regional Water Resources Partnership which serves as the implementing arm of the Coosa-North Georgia Water Planning Council. The Partnership and Water Council received state water planning funds for an assessment and prioritization of 303(d) listed streams. It also received funds to study the effects of a proposed increase of Lake Lanier’s summer pool elevation on its water quality, and currently for a pilot nutrient trading project within the Lake Lanier watershed. The Partnership hosted an annual training meeting in April with 115 in attendance. NWGRC provides environmental and water resources planning and technical assistance to communities and the region. Staff submitted projects for inclusion in the Georgia Climate Resilience Plan and potential 2024 applications.

Northwest Georgia Area Agency on Aging

The Workforce Innovation Opportunity Grant (WIOA) WorkSource Northwest Georgia provides financial support for education and training, access to Job openings, In-demand skills, Job Search Support, Soft Skill Development, and employment opportunities for individuals in the 15-county Northwest Georgia Region.

Program Highlights for 2023:

  • Served over 1266 customers with Title 1 Workforce funding (530 Youth, 736 Adults, and Dislocated Workers) for high-demand careers and jobs.
  • Certification of the Workforce Development Board approved by the Technical College System of Georgia Office of Workforce Development.
  • Received over $5 million in funding for Workforce Development
  • Received and expended $1.5 million in the National Disaster Dislocated Worker Covid-Grant for participants' Training and Work Experience.
  • The workforce team applied for and received an additional $700,000 in National Disaster Dislocated Workforce Grant to work with individuals and marginalized communities impacted by COVID-19. The grant will end in September 2024. An extension has been requested through 2025 with the possibility of applying for another grant.
  • Submitted grant proposals for the Good Job Challenge Grant with the TCSG Office of Workforce Development.
  • Submitted Youth proposal and received $150,000 in additional Youth Title 1 funding.
  • Developed Incumbent Worker Training that provided 9 Employers with funds for upskilling 91 employees. A vested value of $123,070 was provided to the employers.
  • Established new innovative ways to serve participants through “The Career Compass Academy”. A paid virtual 5 weeks, work readiness program for youth ages 16-24 that provides work-ready skills & abilities, and exploration of practical work activities in a virtual environment.
  • Developed and upgraded the Applicant's online applications portal for participants via the www.careerdepot.org website. Applicants can apply online for services.
  • Conducted two virtual and in-person Sub-recipients contractor/provider training and oversight meetings.
  • Conducted in-person Workforce Development Boards meetings (six per year).
  • Conducted in-person Council Chief Elected Officials meetings (six per year).
  • Conducted in-person Youth Committee meetings (six per year).
  • Applied for and received Phase Four of the High Demand Career Initiative (HDCI) Sector Partnership Grant for $123,000.
  • WorkSource Northwest Georgia, NWGRC High Demand Sector Partnership iWORKS Advisory Board developed and conducted in-person and virtual Job Fairs, resource fairs,
  • IWORKS initiated a quarterly webinar series on:
    • Hiring Talent in Today’s Tight Labor Market,
    • Affordable Housing,
    • Project Purpose (High School initiative to expose and assist graduating seniors - not going into post-secondary with jobs),
    • Essentials Leadership Skills for First Line Supervisor,
    • Removing Transportation Barriers to Employment,
    • Lunch & Learn, monthly meetings and quarterly stakeholder meetings/speaking events,
    • Bi-monthly iWORKS newsletter with over 600 subscribers highlighting events and resources around the region.
    • Continue to engage employers and other partners in Northwest Georgia with developing strategies, and activities and to help with their workforce needs.
  • WorkSource Northwest Georgia Promoting Access for Individuals with Disabilities (PAID) Council conducted an Employer Panel to discuss and provide information about hiring individuals with disabilities.
  • Participated as one of six teams chosen in the country in the “Disabilities and Employment Boot Camp” through the USDOL and Workforce GPS.
  • Presented as part of a panel discussion on “Partnering” at the WorkSource Georgia Conference in Jekyll Island, Georgia.
  • Received $125,000 in Rapid Response Grant to respond to company layoffs by Providing Rapid Response Services for employees impacted.
  • Provided Rapid Response Services for 80 individuals impacted at the Summitt Hill Food plant closure in Rome, GA, and200 at the Unique Fabricating closure in La Fayette, GA. Staff provided WIOA information sessions and meetings offering training resources for those impacted.
  • Employers were contacted and information was mailed to those not in attendance.
  • Developed and Promoted Job Fairs for those impacted by the closures.
  • Solicited and procured RFPs for the Comprehensive One Stop Operator career services, training, and follow-up services, including bidder’s conferences, and RFP evaluations for Youth, Adult, and Work Based Training activities in Northwest Georgia.
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