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Hogg Mine rural tourism application approved, Troup receives grants

The Troup County Board of Commissioners approved a rural tourism application for the Hogg Mine to be classified as rural tourism and expand its operation by having a rockhounding/amateur mining business there.

Chris Painter with the Hogg Mine explained the rockhounding business to commissioners. Also known as amateur geology, it involves mining the Hogg Mine and, in this case, allowing the public to search for their own gemstones. The mine is open-pit, and Painter said the mine was a “rare” pegmatite that attracts visitors from across the world.

Visitors meet with staff at a nearby McDonald’s before driving down to the mine. Painter told commissioners that the practice of meeting at the McDonald’s would be changed soon.

The rockhounding would occur only two Saturdays each month.

County Planner Erin Johnson said the mine has been working to improve parking access. Painter said they were tight on parking during the summer months, and that the mine may try to change and have rockhounding every Saturday if demand exceeds capacity.

Other public hearings were held, and commissioners approved three other motions:

4A rezoning application for a 1.5-acre property on New Airport Road from single-family medium density to general commercial;

4Manufactured home placements at 78 Shirey Road and 644 Bartley Road.

An amendment to the fiscal year 2021 budget was approved to accept several grants. A grant of about $57,500 from the Center for Tech and Civic Life was awarded to the Elections and Registration department. A $28,220 grant from the Georgia Department of Human Services’ Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds was awarded to The Active Life.

Finally, a $100,000 Georgia Department of Natural Resources grant was awarded for improvements to Pyne Road Park.

A request to lift the hiring freeze was also approved in order for the Parks and Recreation Department to hire a full-time senior specialist for The Active Life center in LaGrange. The position is budgeted and being vacated by an employee who is leaving.

The Strongest Link Award of Excellence was awarded to Dan Smith, deputy chief appraiser with the Property Appraisal Office.

The award is given monthly to an employee who has demonstrated “excellent performance, productivity, loyalty, professional pride and other noteworthy accomplishments.”