Lavonia Downtown Up for State Award

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

The City of Lavonia is in line for yet another prestigious state award.

Recently, the Lavonia Downtown Development Authority was notified the city has been named a finalist for a Georgia Downtown Conference Award of Excellence for the interior renovation of the Lavonia Train Depot.

The purpose of the annual awards is to recognize, honor and promote the outstanding achievements of Georgia’s local downtown development and revitalization organizations.

Lavonia DDA Director Marie Morse said she sent in several applications in hopes the city would make the final cut.

“Back in May we were allowed the opportunity as a Main   Street city to complete an application for an event, program, renovation, or historic restoration that we felt was noteworthy,” Morse said.

Work on the depot took about three months to complete last fall at a cost to the city of Lavonia of about $248,000 and was completed in time to celebrate its 100th birthday.

But the renovation is really a restoration.

Working with the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission, workers uncovered decades of past renovations and brought the train depot back to the way it looked originally when it first opened in 1911.

Morse said she believes winning the Award for Excellence would help promote all that the City of Lavonia has to offer.

“This is putting Lavonia front and center in front of a group of people who are hearing, “Lavonia” again,” she said. “Then they will show the information about the application and the photos.  So, people will see that and hopefully it will be a place and a city where people will want to visit.”

The winners will be announced at a special awards banquet in Atlanta on August 15.