Woodstock center to see 50,000th visitor, break record for tourism
by Megan Thornton
mthornton@cherokeetribune.com
January 04, 2013 12:12 AM | 1967 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WOODSTOCK — After a record-breaking number of visitors came to the city’s visitors center in 2012, Woodstock city leaders are projecting another increase in tourism in the coming year.

Plans for moving the Woodstock Visitors Center out of Dean’s Store, however, are on hold for now.

Kyle Bennett, assistant director of tourism and visitors center operations, announced Thursday the Woodstock Visitors Center at Dean’s Store had a total of 9,633 visitors during the last year, which beat the previous mark set in 2011 of 8,714 visitors.

At some point this year, the 50,000th visitor will step through the doors of the popular downtown landmark, he added.

City Manager Jeff Moon said he thinks tourism in the city has grown every year.

“It’s no coincidence that this coincides with the success the city has experienced in the downtown area,” he said.

Moon said he has even greater hopes for the future with the opening of the Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta this summer and the planned amphitheatre at the Park at City Center.

Dean’s Store opened for business in 1906 as Woodstock’s first business and the building is now home to the city’s visitors center and serves as a community museum.

The store also serves as the venue for the Main Street Sessions, an event of the Woodstock Downtown Development Authority.

BRPH Architects & Engineers of Marietta are further developing plans, which the city and DDA will consider once they are finalized sometime early this year to see whether the project is still affordable.

“At the moment we’re kind of in a holding pattern,” Bennett said.

Bennett said some of the delay is due in part to the departure of Economic Development Director Billy Peppers and Community Development Director Richard McLeod, who were both involved in moving the relocation forward, as McLeod’s office was working on plans to improve Arnold Mill Road and the left turn onto Towne Lake Parkway from Main Street that would coincide with the relocation project.

Moon said his priority is filling Pepper’s position before moving forward with the relocation. He said the job will be advertised next week.

“We didn’t want to compete with the holidays in advertising his position,” Moon said.

Bennett added the DDA is not planning to start any new projects until Peppers’ position is filled.

“Either way, that’s the good thing about our spot,” Bennett said. “If for some reason we are not able to move, we’re still in a great location.”

Bennett said the Dean family, who owns the building, has expressed interest in having a business in the facility at some point in the future, but is not in a rush to change over its tenants.

“We have a pretty good working relationship with the family,” Bennett said.
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