Affiliated Organizations


Joint Development Authority

Stephens County joined Franklin County and Hart County’s Industrial Building Authority in the Joint Development Authority in 1996.

Through regular collaboration, the JDA initiates and manages development projects in North Georgia impacting the three counties in the growing I-85 corridor.

The JDA business plan spells-out major initiatives including Hwy 17 widening, maximizing the Hartwell Railroad, the joint development park, etc. Marketing has shifted from individual counties with about 25,000 residents each to a regional focus which includes more than 100,000 residents. A commuting workforce from South Carolina further increases the pool of available employees.




Georgia Mountains Regional Commission

The Georgia Mountains Regional Commission (GMRC) is a sub-state district created by local governments in 1962 under provisions of Georgia Enabling Law. The purpose of the GMRC is to locally promote and guide proper development of human, natural, physical, social and economic resources in the Georgia Mountains Region. The area covers 3,500 square miles, and includes Banks, Dawson, Forsyth, Franklin, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Lumpkin, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, and White Counties.

The GMRC offers a wide variety of services to its 51 local governments, which include 13 counties and 38 municipalities. The GMRC works with these entities to formulate goals and strategies for area growth and development. Upon request, the GMRC provides a variety of technical assistance that will improve community services and the quality of life for Georgia Mountains residents.

The GMRC is guided by a 44-member Council and is composed of individuals appointed by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker and one county elected official, one city elected official and one private sector individual from each of our 13 counties. City, County and private sector representatives are chosen by the cities and counties they represent. The Council is responsible for all policy decisions.



Main Street Toccoa

The Main Street program began in 1990 to facilitate the revitalization of downtown Toccoa. The Mission Statement of Main Street Toccoa is to improve Toccoa’s quality of life by strengthening downtown’s role as the community’s heart.

Main Street Toccoa has been accredited by the National Trust for Historic Preservation since 1000. Toccoa’s Program is based on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s recommend four-point approach to downtown redevelopment within the context of historic preservation.

Recent honors include the 2009 Great America Main Street Top Ten Semi-finalist from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the 2008 Excellence in Downtown Development Award from the GA Downtown Association, and the 2009 Excellence in Rehabilitation Award from the GA Trust for Historic Preservation

Phone: 706-282-3269






Chamber of Commerce

The Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the interests of its 400-plus valued Members who represent our community including business, educational, professional, civic, recreational, industrial and political arenas. Members identify opportunities to solve challenges and shape the future of business and the community. The Chamber staff provides leadership, coordinates interested parties and initiates action.  

The Chamber is most often the first stop for visitors to Stephens County as well as potential investors and businesses. The Chamber provides information on the county's rich history, manufacturing, retail and service industries, award winning public schools, state of the art medical facilities, superior public utilities, outstanding community amenities, tourist attractions, unsurpassed natural beauty and outdoor recreation including Lake Hartwell ... the Great Lake of the South.     

Phone: 706-886-2132
Fax: 706-886-2133

Julie Paysen, President
Melvia-Lynn Dickinson, Executive Assistant  
Bill Wheeler, Chairman




City of Toccoa

Founded in 1873, Toccoa is about 90 miles northeast of Atlanta and about 50 miles from Athens. According to Census 2010 figures, Toccoa has 8,491 residents. The total population of Stephens County in 2010 was 26,175.

Toccoa has earned numerous awards, including:

  • An All-American City by National Municipal League
  • Governor’s All-Georgia Community by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs
  •  Toccoa Stephens 2000-International City Management Association Award for Excellence in Citizen Participation
  • Georgia Certified City by Georgia Department of Community Affairs
  • Georgia Exceptional Main Street designation
  • Georgia Chamber of Commerce "Stay and See Georgia" award
  • Affiliate of Keep America Beautiful
  • Official Tree City USA designation
  • Georgia Municipal Association City Innovations Achievement awards
  • American Public Gas Association Marketing award winner
  • American Public Works Association award winner
  • Georgia Water and Pollution Control Association Public Education award winner



Stephens County, Georgia

Stephens County, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Northeast Georgia, is known for its friendly people, progressive government, quality schools and scenic beauty.

According to the 2010 U.S. census, the county population was 26,175 (85.1 percent white, 10.9 percent black, and 2.4 percent Hispanic), a 2.9 percent increase from 2000.

Interstate Hwy. 85 and U.S. Highway 123 traverse Stephens County and future plans call for State Hwy. 17 to be four-laned through the county. Stephens County is about 90 minutes north of Atlanta, about an hour from Greenville, S.C., and 45 minutes from Athens and Gainesville. The county is served by the 5,000-foot R.G. LeTourneau Airport and is one of three Amtrak stops in Georgia on the Crescent line that runs from New York to New Orleans.




Stephens County School System

The Stephens County School System is home to 3 elementary schools, 1 5th grade academy, 1 middle school, and 1 high school. The system serves the communities of Avalon, Martin, and Toccoa and has 4,405 students with over 304 staff and aculty.

Currently, they are accrediated witht he Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Georgia Accrediting Commission. 





Georgia Economic Developers Association

The Georgia Economic Developers Association is a non-profit association of professionals and volunteers who are involved with the economic development of the cities and counties of Georgia.

GEDA was organized to increase the effectiveness of individuals involved in the practice of economic development in Georgia by encouraging cooperation, exchange of information, and upgrading of professional skills.

GEDA strives to achieve a closer working relationship among professionals and volunteers engaged in economic development in Georgia.




Transatlantic Business & Investment Council

The Transatlantic Business & Investment Council is an international group is Foreign Direct Investmentgroup that has become one of the major sources of manufacturing jobs in the United States. When American manufacturers move jobs overseas, the TBIC steps in to fill the void and create millions of well paid jobs in local communities across the U.S. 

In December 2016, the TBIC help fund the SCDA's Executive Director, Tim Martin, as he traveled to Turkey and Germany to visit the headquarters of two Stephens County's international industries. Both Sark Wire, located in Turkey, and Nifco KTW, located in Germany, were overjoyed to have the opportunity to connect with leadership from their U.S. community.




International Economic Development Council

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to helping economic developers do their jobs more effectively and raising the profile of the profession. The goal is tp create more high-quality jobs, develop more vibrant communities, and generally improve the quality of life in their regions.

IEDC is the world's largest membership organization serving the economic development profession. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, its members represent the entire range of economic development experience,

Building strong, sustainable communities is an endeavor requiring innovative strategies, tools, and techniques. IEDC  programs and services have been developed accordingly: they provide educational opportunities, analyze and disseminate information, and improve decision-makers' responsiveness to economic development needs.



The SCDA is responsible for the recruitment of new businesses including industrial, manufacturing, distribution, corporate and regional headquarters and customer service centers. It also provides support and assistance with all other types of economic development projects.

The SCDA also works with existing businesses and industries to ensure their continued success. While recruitment of new industry is a significant function, aiding in existing industry expansion and retention is just as significant. About 80 percent of all new jobs in Georgia come as a result of existing industry expansion.

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