Copper Basin Renaissance Strategic Vision and Plan | 2019

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Renaissance Strategic Vision and Plan 2018 | 2019

Table of Contents Credits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Partners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 The Renaissance Strategic Vision and Planning Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 6 The Copper Basin RSVP: Four Top Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 8 McCaysville-Copperhill Community Masterplan.................................20 Top Issue: Branding and Identity............................................................24 Top Issue: Connectivity..........................................................................58 Top Issue: Local Destination.................................................................124 Top Issue: “Get ‘Er Done” | One-Year Work Program..........................140

Implementation and Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 4 8


s t i d re

COPPER BASIN RSVP STEERING COMMITTEE Zachary Welch, Chair, McCaysville Revitalization Committee Jan Hackett, Fannin County Chamber of Commerce Spiro Amburn, Office of House Speaker David Ralston Christie Gribble, Fannin Development Authority Marilyn MacNeill, McCaysville Revitalization Committee Sue Beaver, McCaysville City Council Ken Rush, Ducktown Basin Museum Glenn Harbison, The News Observer Carol Thomas, City of Copperhill Tara Akins, City of Copperhill EX OFFICIO Mayor Thomas Seabolt, City of McCaysville Mayor Kathy Stewart, City of Copperhill Mayor Doug Collins, City of Ducktown M C CAYSVILLE MAYOR AND COUNCIL Thomas Seabolt, Mayor Larry Collis, Mayor Pro-Tem Sue Beaver, Council Member Rodney Patterson, Council Member Richard Wagner, Council Member Tommy Quintrell, Council Member COPPERHILL MAYOR AND COUNCIL Kathy Stewart, Mayor Ray Tanner, Vice Mayor Tara Akins, Alderman Jimmy Scott Brooks, Alderman Judge Bill Sandridge, Alderman DUCKTOWN MAYOR AND COMMISSION Doug Collins, Mayor Brad Miller, Commissioner Dennis Trentham, Commissioner FANNIN COUNT Y CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Jan Hackett, President Sarah Mickens, McCaysville Visitor Center Jode Mull, Director of Tourism Services & Development FANNIN COUNT Y DEVELOPMENT AUTHORIT Y Christie Gribble, Executive Director FANNIN COUNT Y PARKS AND RECREATION Eddie O’Neal, Director 4

OFFICE OF HOUSE SPEAKER DAVID RALSTON The Honorable David Ralston, Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives Spiro Amburn, Chief of Staff SOUTHEAST TENNESSEE DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT Beth Jones, Executive Director Chuck Hammonds, Assistant Executive Director USDA TENNESSEE Clay Copeland, Rural Development Area Specialist APPAL ACHIAN REGIONAL COMMISSION Annaka Woodruff, ARC Program Manager GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Janet Cochran, Regional Tourism Project Manager, Historic High Country GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Cynthia Burney, Project Manager, GDOT District 6 THE LYNDHURST FOUNDATION Benic "Bruz" Clark III, President, Treasurer Macon C. Toledano, Associate Director THRIVE REGIONAL PARTNERSHIP Bridgett Massengill, Executive Director GEORGIA MUNICIPAL ASSOCIATION/GEORGIA CITIES FOUNDATION Perry Hiott, Director of Community Development Chris Higdon, Manager, Community Development Stephanie Aylworth, Manager, Downtown Development THE UNIVERSIT Y OF GEORGIA CARL VINSON INSTITUTE OF GOVERNMENT Danny Bivins, Senior Public Service Associate, Principal Investigator Kaitlin Messich, Senior Designer T. Clark Stancil, Landscape and Urban Designer Dan Shinkle, Landscape and Urban Designer Allison Cape, Graphic Designer Robert Hines, Graduate Assistant Rachel Shields, Graduate Assistant Karen DeVivo, Editor

s k n a h T l a i c Spe

This project was made possible by the generous support of the Lyndhurst Foundation. We extend our deep appreciation and gratitude to the Lyndhurst Foundation for its steadfast commitment to improving communities across the metropolitan Chattanooga region. The endorsement of this critical partner proved essential in attracting the variety of regional partners that have guided the formation and early implementation efforts of this plan. 5

s r e n t r a P

georgia downtown renaissance partnership




ringing together public institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and private foundations, the Georgia Downtown Renaissance Partnership combines the skills and resources of the Lyndhurst Foundation, the Georgia Municipal Association, the Georgia Cities Foundation, and the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government to revitalize communities across Georgia. The Georgia Downtown Renaissance Partnership facilitates the creation of strategic visions, plans, designs, and work programs for partner communities in Georgia. The Georgia Downtown Renaissance Partnership works with government leaders, chambers of commerce, downtown stakeholders, and local citizens to help ensure that all cities in Georgia have the resources and tools necessary to realize their vision and maximize their potential.


Since 1927, the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government has worked with public officials throughout Georgia and around the world to improve governance and people's lives. From Georgia's early days as a largely agrarian state with a modest population to its modern-day status as a national and international force in business, industry, and politics with a population of 10 million, the Institute has helped government leaders navigate change and forge strong directions for a more prosperous Georgia.

The Lyndhurst Foundation began in the broad local and regional philanthropic activities of Thomas Cartter Lupton, a pioneer in the Coca-Cola bottling business. First organized in 1938 as the Memorial Welfare Foundation, the Lyndhurst Foundation identifies and invests in initiatives, institutions, people, and programs that contribute to the long-term livability and resilience of the greater Chattanooga region. The foundation works to accomplish this mission by focusing its efforts on education, conservation, arts, culture, economy, urban design and development, neighborhood revitalization, and physical health.

Created in 1933, the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) is the only state organization that represents municipal governments in Georgia. Based in Atlanta, GMA is a voluntary, nonprofit organization that provides legislative advocacy and educational, employee benefit, and technical consulting services to its members. GMA’s purpose is to anticipate and influence the forces shaping Georgia’s communities and to provide leadership, tools, and services that assist local governments in becoming more innovative, effective, and responsive.

The Georgia Cities Foundation, founded in 1999, is a nonprofit subsidiary of the Georgia Municipal Association. The foundation’s mission is to assist cities in their efforts to revitalize and enhance downtown areas by serving as a partner and facilitator in funding capital projects through the revolving loan fund. Its services include the Revolving Loan Fund Program, the Heart and Soul Downtown Workshop, the Peerto-Peer Mentoring Tour, Downtown Development Authority Basic Training, and the Renaissance Award.



urrounded by the rugged peaks and ridges of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the approximately 50–75 square-mile geologic feature known as the Copper Basin spans communities across three states and boasts one of the South’s most unique histories. A rough and mighty river, Tennessee’s Ocoee and Georgia’s Toccoa, cuts and winds through the rolling hills and ridges of the Basin. Where Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina come together, communities have arisen over time, drawn to the mineral, hydrological, and agricultural resources of this area. In 1843, discovery of copper ore in Tater Creek changed the course of this area forever. From 1850 to 1987, copper and associated industries provided the lifeblood of communities throughout the Basin and beyond. At the height of mining in the Basin, more than 3,300 people were employed in mining and related industry. The over 90 million tons of copper ore extracted from Copper Basin mines, including Burra Burra, Isabella, Boyd, and more, represented the Southeast’s largest metal mining operation. The annual payroll of this once-thriving industry, reaching more than $35 million at its height, made the communities of Copperhill, McCaysville, and Ducktown a magnet


for mountain farmers and others looking for decent wages and steady employment. During the height of industry in the Basin, in the 1940s and 1950s, the downtowns of McCaysville and Copperhill offered residents and regional visitors an Appalachian-flavored slice of the American dream with bustling stores and restaurants, two movie theaters, car dealerships, and an array of creature comforts. These boom times came at a price. From the 1850s onward, deforestation and the release of sulfur dioxide from copper smelting left virtually the entire area denuded of vegetation. Many remember being unable to dry clothes outside and acid rain eating away the paint on new cars practically overnight. Clearly visible on early satellite photos of the Southeast, the exposed red clay hills of the Copper Basin provided a test case for reforestation methods and the effects of soil erosion. Beginning in 1929 and accelerating in the late 20th century, reclamation and reforestation efforts have successfully brought plant and natural life back to what some geologists referred to as the “Ducktown Desert.� Though the Basin is largely forested now, many reminisce about the strange beauty of those red hills of days gone by.


Like many communities, the Copper Basin cities of McCaysville, Ducktown, and Copperhill have known the cyclical highs and gut-wrenching lows of boom and bust. The closing of the last of the area’s copper mines in 1987 left these communities without a clear future. Following a long decline of the mining and related industry in the Copper Basin, for over two decades industrious local citizens have been slowly redefining their community. Due partly to the area’s industry-related lack of aquatic life, in the early 1990s, a section of the Ocoee River was substantially reengineered and narrowed to create a venue for the whitewater events of the 1996 Centennial Olympics. Today operated by the National Park Service, the Ocoee Whitewater Center attracts 300,000 visitors annually. The Ocoee and Toccoa Rivers now have a well-earned reputation as a destination for kayakers and thrill seekers. In addition, beginning in 1998, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway began offering a scenic excursion train from Blue Ridge to McCaysville. Combined with the Tennessee Valley Railroad’s Copperhill Special, these tourist railroads attract more than 100,000 visitors to downtown McCaysville and Copperhill annually. The combined forces of outdoor and heritage tourism have begun to reshape this community, slowly building a new economy and reconstituting the Basin’s history and environment to serve future residents. In 2018– 2019 alone, 13 new businesses are planned in downtown McCaysville and Copperhill, including three restaurants and two breweries.


With the help of a variety of grants and sustained effort by local leaders, new streetscaping is underway in Ducktown and the city recently welcomed a prominent downtown restaurant. These improvements are attracting activity and drawing the attention of other business owners looking to improve buildings and relocate to Ducktown. Moving forward, locals want to continue growing without sacrificing the unique qualities that make the Copper Basin such a special and unique place to call home. Rather than focusing solely on tourism or attracting retirees, locals also want to ensure that new development welcomes and provides new opportunities for longtime residents.



Bound by a common history, heritage, and destiny, citizens and local leaders across the Copper Basin communities of McCaysville, Copperhill, and Ducktown combined forces in 2018 and 2019 to develop a shared vision for the future of this unique community. The multicity Copper Basin Renaissance Strategic Vision and Plan (RSVP) is a cross-border planning effort supported by the Lyndhurst Foundation. This plan builds on community assets and the rich heritage of this unique place to inform the future of the Copper Basin. Although working across municipal boundaries and state lines can be challenging, these communities rose together and remain interconnected with a shared economy and the common ties of family and community. This citizen-led local planning builds on the effort and membership of existing cross-community partnerships like the Tri-Cities Business Association to help establish a unified vision for the cities that make up this community. The Copper Basin RSVP also allows the three cities to set their own pace, recording local priorities and identifying action items that can be achieved in a reasonable amount of time. The Fannin County Chamber of Commerce served as a model convener throughout the planning process. The hardworking Chamber leaders and staff provided invaluable assistance organizing the public input process, facilitating meetings with community members, and ferrying Institute planners and staff all across the community. The hospitality and depth of community knowledge


copper basin rsvp steering committee and partners

of Chamber leaders inspired planning staff. Paired with energetic volunteers and Steering Committee members, chaired by Zachary Welch, their efforts have led to a better and more comprehensive community plan. The critical support of the Lyndhurst Foundation, the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce, and leadership from Georgia House Speaker David Ralson’s office served as a magnet in this planning effort, drawing interest and investment from a variety of regional and local partners interested in seeing this community succeed. From the Tennessee US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Georgia Department of Transportation, the Southeast Tennessee Development District, and beyond, community leaders must collaborate with strategic partners to fund and implement improvements desired by community members. Built from the input of hundreds of local residents, the Copper Basin Renaissance Strategic Vision and Plan sets forth community priorities and defines the qualities that make the Copper Basin a special place to call home. Determined by the community, the four top issues and action items included in the plan celebrate and build on the unique history, heritage, and other assets to ensure an authentic and integrated future for the Copper Basin.


copper basin e-pl um • • un




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90,000,000 TONS OF COPPER ORE EXTRACTED (1843-1987)













g n i n n a l P & n o i s i V c i g te a tr S e c Renaissan process B

eginning in the fall of 2017, planners and designers from the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government began meeting with representatives of Georgia House Speaker David Ralston’s office and the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce to discuss creating a community-driven plan for the Copper Basin cities of McCaysville, Copperhill, and Ducktown. Community leaders representing the local governments, businesses, state leadership, and local nonprofit organizations soon after came together to create a guiding document for the continued revitalization of these downtowns. Informed by the input of hundreds of citizens from across the Copper Basin, the Copper Basin Renaissance Strategic Vision and Plan (RSVP) outlines and addresses the four top issues residents and local leaders identified as critical to the success of the community. As part of this process, local residents from every walk of life shared their vision for McCaysville, Copperhill, and Ducktown. They outlined what must take place for the community to realize its shared potential. Guided by a steering committee that included community leaders from each partner city, the Fannin Chamber of Commerce, local businesses, and leadership, the Copper Basin RSVP builds on a foundation of community engagement and ownership. Participation of stakeholders from across civic, business, and government entities helps ensure that the whole community is invested in the plan’s success. Owned by the community, this plan charts the course for building on existing momentum to create the strong, vibrant, and relevant community desired by local citizens. The RSVP approach relies on three basic questions to evaluate current conditions in the community, address issues to ensure success, and create a roadmap to enacting the Copper Basin’s vision for the future: Where are we now? Where are we going? How do we get there? Answers to these key questions provided the foundation for the 12-month strategic visioning effort outlined within this report.


step 1:


UPS community-w O R e G c S U n C e O F r e f ide meet visual prveey ing demogr aphic r su interviews




tt i m m steering co meeting

To know where you are going, it helps to know where you have been. Step One of the RSVP process provides a fundamental understanding of current conditions in the Copper Basin through an extensive public engagement research process.

step 2:

where are we going? In the second step of the RSVP process, the community looks to the future to shape the shared vision for the Copper Basin that emerged in Step One. Built on the community desires and strengths discovered in community input sessions, in Step Two the Copper Basin’s community vision is interpreted through illustrations and design recommendations. Step Two also involves creating a rendered illustrative masterplan showcasing the ideal vision for downtown McCaysville and Copperhill.

: tep 3

work program


l design so

implementation plan

renderings v is ua l t ion iza


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During the final step in the RSVP process, community leaders come together to create an implementation plan and one-year work program to move the cities in the Copper Basin toward the community’s vision for the future. By focusing on achievable implementation items that harness community support, Step Three builds momentum while helping to enact the shared community vision in a step-by-step process.

Top Issues D

uring Step One of the Copper Basin RSVP planning process, Institute planners and designers spoke with hundreds of community members to determine what is working and issues that must be addressed in the community. In one-on-one interviews, in focus groups, and through a community-wide survey with over 600 responses, residents came out in force to share their opinions on the community and their vision for the future. Across the Copper Basin, residents regard McCaysville, Copperhill, and Ducktown as safe small towns with friendly people, a variety of local businesses, and a strong community. Residents value the rich history of the community, celebrate the natural beauty of the Ocoee/Toccoa River, and recognize the economic benefits of the train, heritage, and outdoor tourism. Moving forward, residents would like community leaders to build on these strengths to address key concerns, including activating the riverfront, improving connectivity, beautifying the appearance of buildings and key corridors, attracting a variety of restaurant and retail options, and making key infrastructure improvements. While locals recognize that the economy in the community has changed, they do not desire a future that leaves behind the community’s rich history and heritage or that forces locals out in favor of newer, wealthier residents or visitors. Following an extensive public engagement process with representatives from across the Copper Basin, Institute planners worked with a dedicated steering committee of local leaders and residents to determine the four key priorities to be addressed in the Copper Basin RSVP. By addressing the four priorities of community branding, connectivity, creating a local destination, and short-term “Get ‘Er Done” implementation projects, local leaders will begin building the vision of the future desired by community members. To help address these community priorities, Institute planners and designers developed a unique and comprehensive branding program uniting all towns and cities in the Copper Basin. By recognizing this community’s rich history, the unified brand and other designs developed as part of the Copper Basin RSVP build on the past to inform a vibrant new future for the entirety of the Copper Basin.


BRANDING • Unifying Look for Copper Basin Communities (Brand/Identity) • Arrival Signage for Car and Train Visitors • Pedestrian Wayfinding • Ducktown Basin Museum Wayfinding Signage

CONNECTIVITY • River Walk o Connecting Small Gathering and Sitting Areas Along the River to Form a Riverwalk • Streetscape o Unified Crosswalks, Sidewalks, Street Lamps, Benches, Trash Cans, and More • Entry Corridor Beautification, Highway 5

LOCAL DESTINATION • A Community that Embraces Visitors and New Residents While Assuring All Locals Are a Priority Too

“GET ‘ER DONE” • Engage in General Beautification: Clean Streets, Parking, and Property • Install Arrival Destination Signage at the Georgia–Tennessee State Line/Highway 5 and Highway 68 Intersection • Repair Street Lights in McCaysville • Add Benches and Replant Missing Trees Downtown • Paint and Light the Historic Bridge • Install String Lights at Horseshoe Bend Park Main Stage • Beautify the Tennessee Overhill Train Arrival Area in Copperhill

Groups Represented in Focus Groups and Interviews • Copper Basin Museum Board • McCaysville Properties • McCaysville City Council and Staff • Business and Community Leaders • Regional Organization Representatives • City of Copperhill • City of Ducktown • Fannin County Government • Fannin Chamber of Commerce Board

• McCaysville Revitalization Group • Downtown Business Owners • Blue Ridge Scenic Railway • Tennessee Valley Railroad • McCaysville and Copperhill Residents • Tri Cities Business Association • Georgia Agencies/Tennessee Valley Authority • Local Students


About the Masterplan


uilt on the input of hundreds of community members, the McCaysville-Copperhill Community Masterplan incorporates the top issues of local residents to plan for a safer, more attractive, better connected, and more welcoming future for Copperhill and McCaysville. This plan builds on existing and proposed improvements, including the Georgia Department of Transportation’s proposed truck route and Highway 5 enhancements, to beautify key corridors approaching downtown. The plan also identifies locations for key crosswalk improvements, identifies sites for dozens of proposed street trees, provides new connections to riverfront areas and McCaysville City Park, and outlines the location of an expanded park and pedestrian bridge across the Toccoa River. If fully implemented, these improvements could forever reshape the community, enhancing the local quality of life. Together these recommendations ensure a community center that reflects the unique character and future of the Copper Basin.



Community Masterplan

open here for plan



B randing

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I dentity


hile separate political entities, the cities of McCaysville, Copperhill, and Ducktown share a common history, heritage, and community. These three cities arose together and their futures remain indivisible, forever tied by a common economy, culture, and community. Many area visitors, including the 100,000 annual train visitors disembarking in the Basin annually, likely have no idea whether they are in Copperhill or McCaysville at any given moment. Sharing a boundary, street network, and community, these cities in particular are joined in the minds of residents and visitors. Early on, many locals identified the need to integrate improvement efforts across the three cities of the Copper Basin. In Step One of the RSVP planning process, many residents noted that unified signage or other elements could visually tie the communities in the Copper Basin together. Many community members would also like to see the unique history of the Copper Basin better communicated to residents and visitors in a variety of ways. They want to ensure that new growth and development does not mean losing the rich history and community that make McCaysville, Copperhill, Ducktown, and the surrounding area special. Recognizing and celebrating the authentic character of the Copper Basin proved central to all efforts within the Copper Basin RSVP. To tell the story of this unique community, many locals, particularly local business owners and leaders, identified the need for a unified brand integrating the cities and towns of the Copper Basin. For many cities, branding serves as both a tool to help communicate a community’s story and a strategy for marketing that story to particular audiences. Branding offers a promise about local identity, what to expect when visiting, and the qualities associated with a community. Institute of Government planners and faculty branding specialists worked with community members to develop a concise, unified community brand for the Copper Basin. Like other elements of the Copper Basin RSVP, developing signage and branding together with community members helped ensure that local residents are driving change and development and that their values and demands are incorporated in what takes shape in the Copper Basin. The resulting designs reference the rich history and heritage of the community, evoke the qualities that make the Copper Basin unique, and celebrate integral community values like hard work and “true grit.�


Copper Basin Logo A logo is only one element of an organization’s brand identity, albeit a very important one. Logos assist with recognition, differentiation, and recall. This is the primary logo for the Copper Basin. The Copper Basin encompasses an area that has a shared history. Copper mining and “true grit” built this place. The pickaxe and shovel speak to the copper mining era. The circular icon is reminiscent of a penny and shows wear and tear, versatility, and value — what the Copper Basin is all about.


Branding Elements A logo should accurately represent the personality and culture of a place. The Copper Basin logo was thoughtfully crafted, keeping in mind the unique shared history of copper mining and how it impacted and transformed the Copper Basin over generations. The shovel and pickaxe are a timeless and iconic visual representation of the mining that built this place. The circular background is reminiscent of a copper penny, with an unfinished edge that represents how the Copper Basin remains “rough around the edges.” The icon and other elements speak to a place with true grit and hardworking people. The primary font is a serif, all-caps typeface called Postampt, which reminds the viewer of the lettering found on old post office stamps. The tagline, “too great for one state,” is shown in a friendly handwritten font called Poppit and Finch that represents the friendly, personal touch one might find on a handwritten note, much like the character of the people of the Copper Basin.





t a e r g too tate s e n o for 27

Primary Use




C30 M85 Y100 K33 R134 G51 B0

C36 M83 Y100 K51 R100 G42 B15

C0 M62 Y87 K0 R254 G127 B52

Secondary Use STATE LINE




C100 M76 Y32 K12 R12 G165 B177

C78 M47 Y52 K24 R0 G165 B177

C90 M47 Y52 K24 R17 G95 B100

C80 M19 Y57 K2 R39 G151 B130

Copper Basin Color Palette As the first thing that people see, color is a high-impact aspect of any brand. These colors were thoughtfully chosen based on the Copper Basin’s history and natural beauty, and they were named for local landmarks and elements associated with copper mining. Primary use colors are found in the logo and should be the dominant colors used in overall branding materials. The secondary use colors can be used in a variety of ways to complement the primary colors.


Logo Variations The highly individualistic people who make up the Copper Basin possess a do-it-yourself attitude passed down for generations. Though each town is part of the larger Copper Basin and shares the area’s copper-mining history, each also maintains its own distinct identity. To allow for more flexibility, the Copper Basin brand will have the primary logo as well as a package of graphics that can be used by individual towns, local landmarks, shops, restaurants, and more. While the graphics package allows for more flexibility, the style and look is the same throughout, maintaining a cohesive overall aesthetic.


What is Brand Application? Brand application is simply the consistent, physical representation of the brand on a variety of products and media. This section will illustrate some ways in which the Copper Basin brand can be applied that are in keeping with the lifestyle and culture of the place.


n o i t a c i l Brand App

Copper Basin T-Shirt Many people love buying t-shirts from places they have visited. Copper Basin shirts could come in any of the colors from the Copper Basin color palette. This staged photo helps to sell the shirt, while promoting the fun, laid-back mountain lifestyle that the Copper Basin offers.


n o ti a c i l pp A d Bran Copper Basin Coffee Mug The items that you choose to put your logo on should speak to the lifestyle of a community’s preferred audience. This tin coffee mug, also known as a campfire mug, could complement the experiences of those drawn to the promise of outdoor adventure.

Made in the Basin Tag Local businesses could adopt a “Made in the Basin” marketing campaign to promote locally made items while also promoting the Copper Basin brand. This gift tag, which could be tied onto products sold in local shops, allows for individual businesses to write the names of products and businesses.


Copper Basin Bumper Sticker A bumper sticker is an easy, affordable, and quick way to promote a new brand.

Parking Signage The rendering shows a temporary sandwich board sign pointing the way to a free parking lot behind the building. The colors and fonts utilized are in keeping with the Copper Basin brand to make them more recognizable to visitors. Signs like these could be used in various downtown areas to indicate parking.


n o ti a c i l pp A d Bran Copper Basin Billboard Advertising outside of the Copper Basin is important to draw visitors to the area. Simple billboard advertisements like the one shown below use minimal text and beautiful imagery to pique drivers’ interest about what the Copper Basin has to offer.


Magazine Advertisements Print advertisements are also important in helping to promote the brand. Due to the community’s proximity to metro Atlanta, Chattanooga, and other population centers, the Copper Basin draws many visitors from Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Using print advertisements in publications such as Atlanta Magazine and Chattanooga Magazine and other regional magazines from areas within a drivable distance makes sense to promote the Copper Basin to regional travelers.



n o ti a c i l pp A d n a r B Copper Basin Map Brochure Because McCaysville and Copperhill feel like one destination, train visitors may not realize that they are about to visit two towns and two states. While it is a unique selling point that the two towns are on the state line and should be promoted as such, the branding, wayfinding signage, and informational items such as maps and brochures should address the area as one single destination. This makes visiting less confusing for the visitor and reinforces the brand. This downtown informational map brochure, which conforms to the overall Copper Basin brand, highlights local landmarks, shops, restaurants, and attractions. The map is potentially the first piece of branding material that visitors will see when they arrive via train, so it should be both easy to understand and attractive. Maps can be placed at the train arrival areas, the Visitor Center, Chamber, and even in local businesses and hotels so that visitors can easily find them.


Branding and Identity

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successful brand requires more than community resonance. Successful brands are deployed strategically and reiterated in a multitude of ways. The supplemental Copper Basin Brand Lookbook was developed to help local leaders navigate and apply the unique community brand consistently across the community. This usage guide and comprehensive explanation of the overall branding strategy includes the design elements like chosen fonts, colors, and more that make up the overall brand. This document also contains relevant legal information on trademarks, usage regulations, and more. Users can download logo files and the style guide at Addressing the need for signage across the community could be an excellent way of applying a unified community brand across the Copper Basin. Voices throughout Copperhill, McCaysville, and Ducktown identified multiple areas and local destinations that would benefit from improved signage. Many locals know of unique destinations and off-the-beaten-path points of interest that could be highlighted with directional and interpretive signage. A unified brand, color, and materials palette for signage across all the cities in the Copper Basin will unify the community in the minds of locals and visitors. Taking the extra time and care to ensure that all new efforts are coordinated in appearance sends the signal to both residents and visitors that they are in a community that takes pride in itself. Attractive, cohesive signage shows that the community is worthy of care. Particularly in a community with heavy tourist traffic over a very condensed time period, proper signage allows visitors to make the most of their experience and know where to spend time and money in the community. Clear, relevant wayfinding and gateway signage that reflects local character bolsters the appeal of the Copper Basin for visitors while building a sense of community investment in future generations.


Ducktown Basin Museum existing As visitors approach the Ducktown Basin Museum, they drive up this steep hill. Currently, there is no wayfinding signage to assure visitors that they are going the right way. Due to the multiple structures on the property, visitors can easily get confused about where to turn or park.

proposed Painting indictor signage on the ground using simple stencils can lead visitors up the hill to the museum. A printed vinyl banner can be seen from the bottom of the hill and lets people know they are almost there. All signage and stencils reflect the Copper Basin’s overall brand with specific colors and fonts. This keeps all Copper Basin destinations such as the Ducktown Basin Museum consistent and helps in marketing the region. 39

existing Currently, the first thing that visitors see as they approach the museum is a signpost that is missing its sign. The missing sign implies that the building is vacant.

proposed The rendering shows how a quick fix like replacing a missing sign, along with simple landscaping, can make the museum more inviting. 40

existing The Ducktown Basin Museum tells the story of the copper industry and the unique impact of mining in the area. The long driveway leading to the museum offers multiple opportunities for branded signage to both welcome and say thank you to museum patrons.

proposed As visitors leave the Ducktown Basin Museum, they drive past this quaint structure with a tin roof. The rendering shows a friendly painted message that reads, “Thank you for visiting, see you again soon!� Small touches like this help to create a more personal and memorable experience for museum visitors. 41

Copperhill Arrival : g n i d n fi y a W & Signage existing This area on Tennessee Highway 68 is one of the key gateways into Copperhill. A drive over the railroad tracks often creates a sense of arrival. Currently, the existing welcome sign (see photo on next page) is small and hard to read.

proposed Planting wildflowers is a simple and inexpensive way to beautify a gateway and signal to visitors that they have arrived in downtown. In addition to the wildflowers, the rendering shows some minor landscaping improvements around the welcome sign and a tree planted along the corridor. For sign improvements, see the rendering on the next page. 42

proposed Using the same sign structure, the wooden sign is simplified and easier for drivers to read. The Copper Basin logo is added to the sign for brand consistency, and the same wood-burned look is applied to the welcome message.

existing Gateways are important places to install welcome signage that represents the unique character of a place. Currently, this wooden sign welcomes visitors to Copperhill, but it is small and hard for drivers to read. 43

: g n i d n fi y a W & e g a n Sig

Copperhill & McCaysville Traffic Circles




The Copper Basin Masterplan shows two proposed traffic circles, one in McCaysville on Georgia Highway 5 and another in Copperhill on Tennessee Highway 68. New signage could be placed in the center of the traffic circles to welcome visitors to McCaysville and Copperhill. In keeping with the Copper Basin branded “look,� the new signage could include the Copper Basin logo, brass lettering, attractive plantings, and artifacts such as copper ore and mining equipment as a centerpiece. These unique items celebrate the mining history that both towns share and unify the overall brand between two distinct places.


existing This Copperhill building is prominently located on Toccoa Avenue and is highly visible to train riders, pedestrians, and drivers. Currently, the wall is being used for advertising, but the signs are faded and mismatched. This could be a great place to put some welcome signage as it is one of the first things people see as they disembark the trains. 46

: g n i d n fi y a W & Signage

Copperhill Arrival

proposed The rendering shows new welcome signage with a downtown map of both Copperhill and McCaysville. The same map could also be installed in McCaysville outside of the depot (see page 51) and used in printed brochures to keep the brand consistent throughout both McCaysville and Copperhill. This sign also uses the same welcoming message found on gateway signs around town. 47

existing This sidewalk connects visitors disembarking the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad in McCaysville with the remainder of McCaysville and Copperhill. Currently, no welcome or wayfinding signage exists to let tourists know where they are.

proposed The rendering shows a new sign and landscaping that welcomes visitors to Copperhill and McCaysville. This signage also points visitors in the direction of shops and restaurants downtown. The colors, fonts, and sign materials are consistent choices that complement the overall Copper Basin brand.


: g n i d n fi y a W & e g a Sign

Train Arrival


n a c e g a n g i s l Viny og anywhere!

iS gnage & Wayfinding:

This concept can be used on any blank wall downtown for train arrival wayfinding.

Train Arrival Signage

existing As train riders disembark in McCaysville, they walk past this building to go downtown. The large blank wall is a perfect opportunity to both welcome them and help them find their way around.

proposed The rendering shows new welcome signage on a building that visitors walk by as they disembark the train in McCaysville. The wall includes a downtown map showing both Copperhill and McCaysville, along with printed brochure maps stored in a weatherproof display case for visitors to grab as they walk around. The large map could also be installed in Copperhill (see page 46). The same branding can be found on signage around town.



Signage & Wayfinding: Murals existing This brick building with a unique rounded corner is located at the corner of West Tennessee Avenue and Bridge Street in McCaysville and is part of the new Riverwalk Shops development, which is projected to bring many people to this area of downtown.

proposed This blank wall is an opportunity to create a beautiful mural that speaks to the unique Copper Basin mining history and adds to the visitor experience as they walk and shop downtown. The mural, which depicts a miner with a hardhat and pickaxe, uses the colors from the Copper Basin brand. Even though this mural is technically located in McCaysville, it reads “Home of the Miners, McCaysville and Copperhill� to unify the branding message for both towns. 52

existing Located on Georgia Highway 60 at the entry to downtown McCaysville across from the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad depot, this building offers the first impression of downtown to many visitors.

proposed Owned by McCaysville Properties, this building could feature a welcome mural incorporating the Copper Basin community brand. Designed as an easily applied stencil, this installation could welcome downtown visitors for many years to come.


Signage & Wayfinding: Murals

existing This photo shows a view of downtown at the intersection of Highway 5 and Highway 68. A small sign marks the Tennessee–Georgia state line in front of the corner building on the left. However, this small sign is hard for visitors to see as they disembark the train and make their way toward downtown. Such a unique asset could be celebrated in a more prominent way. In addition to the sign, the streetscape would benefit from some minor improvements, including straightening crooked stop signs and greening the area.


proposed The rendering shows a new painted arrow sign on the building that points to the Georgia–Tennessee state line and reads “Two States, One Place” to signify the geographical unity that McCaysville and Copperhill share. A blue painted arrow draws attention to the exact spot where visitors can take a photo on both sides of the line and can be seen from up the street. 55


y t i v i t c e n n o C 57

top issue:

y t i v i t c e Conn 58


lthough they all make up a single community, McCaysville, Copperhill, and Ducktown each face different challenges and opportunities when it comes to connectivity. On the whole, connectivity means the ease of safely getting from one point to another, whether on foot or by car. Of the hundreds of locals who took part in Step One of the Copper Basin RSVP process, the majority of residents noted that the downtowns of McCaysville and Copperhill both suffer from serious connectivity issues. With 100,000 train visitors annually, families with young children exploring downtown on foot, and two state highways intersecting in the heart of downtown, many noted that easing conflicts between pedestrians and heavy vehicular traffic must be a top community priority. 59


Many also commented that parking, particularly in Copperhill, can be a real problem that deters locals from visiting downtown. In addition to these issues, many see the potential of the Ocoee/Toccoa riverfront in Copperhill and McCaysville. Locals would love spaces and walking areas along the river. They also believe that connecting the community along this critical asset will be a major boost to the visitor experience downtown. While a Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) truck route has been proposed to alleviate heavy tractor-trailer volume downtown, this $43.4 million project will take a significant amount of time to get up and running. With a project this large and potentially transformative in the works, city leaders must work with GDOT now to prioritize incorporating appropriate pedestrian accommodations into these plans. Doing the job right the first time should be the rallying cry of local leaders. This project is an opportunity to incorporate the streetscaping elements like wide sidewalks, unified lighting, street trees, and crosswalks that could make downtown more accessible, attractive, and safe for generations.

Highlighted as a top priority for beautification, much of Highway 5 approaching and entering downtown McCaysville has many excess feet of drive lane and paved area that could be converted to improved sidewalks and pedestrian areas. After large tractor-trailers are routed around Copperhill and McCaysville, this section of additional public right-of-way could be transformed with safer, more accessible sidewalks and crosswalks, as well as landscaping and other elements to improve the approach to downtown. Diverting vehicular traffic of any kind from downtown areas typically siphons tourist traffic and casual visitors away from downtowns. With this in mind, community leaders should work to ensure that as part of the GDOT project, downtown becomes more attractive to visit than ever before. Tourism is the bread and butter for the businesses in downtown McCaysville and Copperhill. With tens of thousands of annual train visitors exploring downtown on foot each year, every precaution should be taken to make visiting downtown on foot a safe, enjoyable, and accommodating experience.


“Prioritizing clearly marked crosswalks should be at the top of the list for local leaders. For the price of a few cans of paint, repainted and clearly marked crosswalks could save a pedestrian’s life.” Currently, even at key intersections, many crosswalks in McCaysville and Copperhill are unmarked or faded. Crosswalks exist to minimize potentially deadly collisions and clearly communicate to both drivers and pedestrians where people should cross major streets. While standard painted crosswalks perform this task, delineating pedestrian crossings with stamped asphalt, brick pavers, or other materials can be even more effective and appealing. These visual and textural differences cue drivers to reduce their speed when coming into contact with pedestrian traffic. While McCaysville features handsome brick sidewalks throughout much of downtown, existing sidewalks typically measure a standard 5-6’. While standard sidewalks safely accommodate couples walking together, large crowds, groups, or users in wheelchairs would have difficulty exploring much of downtown together. Widening sidewalks where possible would prioritize the pedestrian experience downtown, allowing large groups and families to better explore the area. In addition, local businesses would be able to set up outdoor markets and café seating. As part of the GDOT project, McCaysville could work with Tri-State EMC to explore moving utility lines underground. Particularly in dense downtowns and storm-prone areas, underground utilities are the most efficient and sensible method of transmitting power over the long term. Copperhill faces other issues related to connectivity. Smaller than neighboring McCaysville and with a more limited tax base, Copperhill faces a variety of serious long-term maintenance issues, including the overhaul of downtown sewers. As with the GDOT improvements planned in McCaysville, Copperhill should look to maximize potential projects when they must occur. Digging once and doing a job right the first time is almost always more effective and cheaper over the long term. While narrower streets will limit what can be installed, Copperhill should nevertheless work to incorporate improved streetscaping, street trees, lighting, and other elements when improvements are necessary.


Like the development of a unified community brand, Copperhill and McCaysville should collaborate across city limits to develop a palette of downtown streetscaping materials, including specific seating, street lights, and more, that can be used across the community. Relying as much as possible on grants and other sources of potential outside funding, Copperhill should maximize necessary sewer improvements to make a lasting impact on the experience of visiting downtown, ensure a safer experience for drivers and pedestrians, and boost business and restaurant activity downtown. Particularly in Copperhill, narrow streets, parallel on-street parking, and 100,000+ annual train visitors create a tight and potentially harrowing experience for downtown motorists and pedestrians. Prioritizing clearly marked crosswalks should be at the top of the list for local leaders. For the price of a few cans of paint, repainted and clearly marked crosswalks could save a pedestrian’s life. Building on these necessary improvements with elements like planted bump-outs at intersections and replacing missing trees in tree grates would all better delineate pedestrian and vehicular traffic, reduce speeding in congested areas, and beautify the heart of the community.


scenes from downtown ducktown, tennessee


After a long period of disinvestment, Ducktown has seen the beginnings of a significant turnaround in recent years. The development of the Old Copper Road Distillery and relocation of Rod’s Rockin Rolls to a prominent storefront along Main Street all speak to the growing investment in this community. Since 2006, the city has partnered with the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, and other organizations to fund 1,800 feet of sidewalk from Five Points Drive to downtown. Streetscaping underway along Main Street will further connect the city’s historic downtown with the recently developed trailhead at the end of Main Street. Eventual plans for land undergoing reclamation by Glenn Springs Holdings include 15–18 miles of trail, with the potential to connect Ducktown with Copperhill and McCaysville. These long-term plans hint at Ducktown’s rejuvenated future as an outdoor recreation hub. In the meantime, the city could benefit by offering connections and transportation to train tourists during peak times in the busy summer and fall seasons. Ducktown leaders and volunteers could consider working with some of the local outfitters or church groups to offer a seasonal bus to the Ducktown Basin Museum for heritage tourists disembarking trains in McCaysville and Copperhill. Furthermore, working with outside partners to enhance directional and wayfinding signage to the Ducktown Basin Museum could draw more visitors and local residents to this one-of-a-kind storehouse of local heritage. Collaborating with local community partners and outside resources like the Southeastern Tennessee Development District, the USDA, and more could help spread the impact of tourism across the Basin and offer tourists a more in-depth look at the unique history and heritage of the Copper Basin.


McCaysville Arrival : y t i v i t c e n Con existing Many locals would like to see the entryway corridors leading to McCaysville and Copperhill beautified. This photo shows an area of Highway 5 with excessive curb cuts, continuous parking lots, and no street trees.

proposed, after gdot improvements The above rendering illustrates the difference planned improvements will make along Highway 5. The GDOT plan includes a two-foot curb and gutter, a five-foot sidewalk, and two-foot beauty strips, as shown here. 66

proposed The rendering shows what a difference a few trees can make. Planned landscaped areas are expanded to incorporate paperbark or cinnamon maples that beautify the streetscape while providing shade. These landscaped areas also help define where to enter and exit parking lots. If GDOT is planning extensive improvements, working to move utilities underground as shown makes sense along this busy corridor. 67

McCaysville Arrival : y t i v i t c Conne

existing Excessive curb cuts, chaotic signage, and a collection of parking lots define entry into McCaysville.

proposed, after gdot improvements The above rendering illustrates the difference planned improvements will make along Highway 5. The GDOT plan includes a two-foot curb and gutter, a five-foot sidewalk, and two-foot beauty strips, as shown here.


proposed Working with property owners, GDOT’s plan for Highway 5 could incorporate attractive street trees and landscaped areas that better define access to businesses. If overhead utilities are moved underground, larger canopy trees like Shumard or laurel oaks, sycamores, or other options could be used to create a more expansive tree canopy along busy Highway 5.


existing Many businesses along Highway 5 lack well-defined entrances. These excessive curb cuts can create unsafe conditions for drivers and pedestrians while diminishing the overall appearance of this corridor.

proposed, after gdot improvements The new landscaped beauty strips and sidewalks shown in this rendering conform to the GDOT plan for the Highway 5 corridor. 70

McCaysville Arrival : y t i v i t c Conne

proposed These paperbark maples beautify the streetscape, visually separate pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and offer shade to pedestrians. The rendering above shows the same improvements with the addition of paperbark maples planted in the two-foot proposed GDOT beauty strip.



McCaysville Arrival at West Tennessee Avenue

existing The intersection of Highway 5 and West Tennessee Avenue in McCaysville currently features an assemblage of chaotic signage, an absence of street trees or shade, and faded or unmarked pedestrian crossing areas. The existing width of this right-of-way could be used to incorporate more pedestrian features and landscaping.


proposed, after paint Simply repainting the existing crosswalks at Highway 5 and West Tennessee Avenue clearly demarcates pedestrian areas for visitors and drivers. Working with property owners to install trees in existing landscaping softens existing signage and creates a more pleasant entry.


proposed, after gdot improvements Working with GDOT to improve Highway 5 in the center of town could allow for four to five feet of additional sidewalk, landscaped bump-outs, and shortened pedestrian crossing distances downtown.

proposed, after brick crosswalks This prospective rendering illustrates the same improvements with brick paving used for both sidewalk extensions and crosswalks. This different material highlights pedestrian areas, alerting drivers and inviting visitors to explore downtown on foot. 74


McCaysville Arrival at West Tennessee Avenue

proposed, final In addition to improvements shown in previous renderings, this rendering illustrates the effect that removing overhead lines could have on this segment of Highway 5. Installing attractive mast-arm traffic signals could unify the appearance of downtown intersections. Removing overhead lines allows for larger street trees to be planted throughout town. Working with property owners to remove the metal canopy further enhances this important intersection. 75


McCaysville Arrival

at Market Street existing This photo illustrates wide crossing distances, excessive paving, and a lack of clear pedestrian crossings at the intersection of Highway 5 and Market Street.

proposed Transforming the excess paving into landscaped bump-outs and sidewalks could improve pedestrian access and connectivity in downtown McCaysville while boosting patronage at local businesses. Planting trees in existing landscaped areas improves the function of these features.



existing The William T. “Boss� Mull Bridge on Highway 5 carries vehicular traffic between Georgia and Tennessee and provides a key connection between McCaysville and Copperhill. Visitors use the bridge both as a pedestrian connection and as an opportunity to get a better view of the Toccoa/Ocoee River below. Currently, narrow sidewalks along the bridge do not accommodate large crowds and wheelchairs very well.



McCaysville Arrival Highway 5 Bridge


The rendering below shows the sidewalk widened by an additional five feet on either side of the bridge. This extension provides extra room for groups of tourists as they cross over the bridge.


existing Large expanses of asphalt send the signal to drivers that they are safe to travel wherever they please. Continuous curb cuts and excessively wide streets encourage speeding and put pedestrians and drivers in conflict. These conditions are particularly dangerous in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic.


Connectivity proposed Working with private property owners, local leaders can extend landscaping and streetscaping improvements to better define where pedestrians and vehicles are safe to travel. These improvements also delineate clear entrances to businesses. Street trees added to both existing and proposed landscaped areas provide shade, beautify the street, and place a barrier between heavy vehicular and pedestrian traffic.



Key Intersections : y t i v i t c e n Con existing,


The intersection of Highway 68 and Highway 5 in the heart of downtown McCaysville/Copperhill is the crossroads of two states and the most prominent intersection in the Copper Basin. Currently, this intersection is dominated by asphalt paving and an array of signage. Now mostly a drainage canal, the historic Coca-Cola Creek in the left of the image could be improved by planting new trees and other vegetation.

proposed This key intersection provides the perfect opportunity to showcase a unified community brand. Improved signage is complemented with attractive, low-maintenance landscaping, including fall-flowering muhly and “Northwind� switch grass. Particularly at this key intersection, working to improve pedestrian crosswalks makes sense for the safety of both pedestrians and drivers. Additional improvements include handsome street trees and landscaped bump-outs in formerly unutilized stretches of asphalt.


existing The intersection of Georgia Highway 5 and Tennessee Highway 68 is the nexus of two states and the approximate boundary between McCaysville and Copperhill. Currently, the volume of truck traffic and often heavy pedestrian traffic here make this intersection the center of pedestrian-vehicular conflict in the heart of town.

existing, annotated This graphic illustrates issues present at downtown’s most prominent intersection. Excessive painted asphalt areas like those shown prioritize vehicle speed over pedestrian safety. 84

Key Intersections : y t i v Connecti proposed Improving this intersection with attractive, clearly visible crosswalks, expanded bump-outs, and more minimizes pedestrian-vehicular conflict and unfurls the welcome mat for visitors at downtown’s most prominent junction. Refreshing the state line paint, planting street trees and landscaping, and incorporating rustic styling on existing signage elevate the appearance of this downtown hub. 85

Connectivity: sidewalks existing Currently, cracks and empty tree wells along the brick-patterned sidewalk in front of the BB&T bank in downtown Copperhill detract from this otherwise attractive streetscape.


proposed Working to repair and replace this streetscape over time could be worth pursuing if grants or other funds can be procured. Features including new paperbark maple street trees, benches, and streetlights matching those in McCaysville make this a more functional and cohesive streetscape.


ctivity: Copperhill e n n o C Grande Avenue Crosswalks existing Throughout Copperhill and McCaysville, heavy pedestrian and vehicular traffic and a lack of clearly defined crosswalks pose safety concerns for both drivers and pedestrians.

proposed, after paint Repainting crosswalks improves safety by sending a clear message to both pedestrians and drivers. 88

proposed, after brick crosswalks Brick crosswalks could enhance the pedestrian experience and unify crosswalks throughout Copperhill and McCaysville. 89

ctivity: McCaysville e n n o C Grande Avenue Crosswalks

existing Grand Avenue in McCaysville currently features wide asphalt paving and an assortment of back-of-house functions. No street trees offer shade or color for pedestrians or visitors.

proposed Shortening crossing distances with landscaped bump-outs improves the pedestrian experience and beautifies this important street. Clearly marked crosswalks let pedestrians know they are welcome. Expanded sidewalks shown on the left connect across the old bridge to Copperhill.



gateways : ty i v ti c e n Con existing Wide asphalt lanes and excessive paving entering downtown encourage dangerous speeds in an area with heavy pedestrian traffic.



proposed Landscaped bump-outs in formerly painted areas bring shade and trees to sidewalks, slowing traffic and making this section of road more pedestrian-friendly. Clearly marked parallel spaces bring additional parking downtown. The arrival signage shown matches the overall look and feel of other signage, creating a cohesive appearance.


gateways : ty i v ti c Conne

existing The area entering downtown Copperhill could be improved with some limited landscaping and signage improvements.

proposed Hung on an existing sign post, a new welcome sign lets visitors know they have arrived in downtown Copperhill. The colors, fonts, and Copper Basin logo used reflect the overall community brand. In addition to new gateway welcome signage, simple landscaping improvements are added to the triangular corner, making the patio space safer and more attractive.




ducktown crosswalks

existing Sidewalks in downtown Ducktown are currently being improved, and several areas downtown will need new crosswalks.


proposed While celebrating the town’s unique name, these duck footprint-inspired crosswalks create a safe and attractive pedestrian crossing.



ducktown crosswalks

existing Established in a once-vacant storefront, Rod’s Rockin Rolls is bringing unique cuisine and activity to downtown Ducktown.

proposed Instead of the standard striped crosswalk, why not have a little fun? These duckthemed crosswalks bring life and activity to downtown and celebrate this unique community.



y t i v i t c e n n Co

activating the waterfront



n addition to streetscaping improvements, community members see the Ocoee/ Toccoa River meandering through Copperhill and McCaysville as a tremendous untapped resource for the community. Given the Copper Basin’s existing outdoor sports appeal, capitalizing on the river in the heart of the community could transform downtown. With tubers, kayakers, and other adventurers barreling down the river through the heart of downtown, the opportunity for train visitors and others to observe and interact with these outdoors enthusiasts could lead to more return visitors and build on the strengths of the community. Currently, much of downtown McCaysville is being restored and renovated through the Riverwalk Shops development. The businesses and restaurants in the works will bring more activity to the riverfront than ever before. With 100,000 train visitors annually, both McCaysville and Copperhill would benefit from boosting the number of easily accessible activities within walking distance of downtown.


While important community spaces like McCaysville City Park offer beautiful scenery and a wide deck on the riverfront, the distance from the park to the depots on the other side of the river put it out of reach for many visitors. Community members see the need to further activate the riverfront with additional seating and walking areas. The community should consider starting small by working to connect existing riverfront hubs like the McCaysville Visitors Center, the historic bridge, and the in-progress Riverfront Shops with pocket parks, outdoor dining, and seating areas along the riverfront. Doing so could provide new activities for downtown visitors, tie McCaysville and Copperhill together, and create a permanent boost to the local quality of life. Returning community life to the river with new parks, pedestrian areas, seating, and more also fulfills the need for locals to have places to congregate and enjoy natural beauty downtown. From expanding already beloved parks to investing in public pavilions and seating, the riverfront improvements outlined here offer permanent, free activities in the center of the community for local residents to gather, celebrate, and enjoy all year round.


Riverwalk Plan


Currently, several public and private parking lots come together in this area along the Ocoee River in downtown Copperhill.

proposed Adjusting 90-degree parking to 45-degree angled parking frees up space for an expanded public area along the Ocoee River in Copperhill. The plan preserves 32 rear parking spaces for businesses and improves the rear parking area with the addition of street trees, benches, a deck, and an expanded tube take-out. Blocks of flowing native grasses bring beauty, color, and erosion control to the riverbank, while colorful painted asphalt evokes the flow of the Ocoee/Toccoa River. 103

existing Owned by the city, this public parking serves busy downtown businesses including Tallent Drug and El Rio. By working with downtown business owners, this currently inefficient parking arrangement could be improved to incorporate additional parking as well as landscaping and public space along the river.

proposed Working with property owners to make the layout of parking more efficient creates space that could be used for landscaped bump-outs, street trees, and a public walkway along the river.


parking improvements : k l a w r Rive


kayak take-out : k l a w r Rive

existing This city-owned parcel along the Ocoee River features a large public parking lot, an unused former public restroom, and a kayak take-out that could be better set up for community use.

proposed By more efficiently laying out parking in this publicly owned parcel, the community has the opportunity to add usable community space, street trees, seating, and more along the riverfront. Clearing invasive species along the waterfront and planting a flowing mix of native grasses along the bank provides erosion control and an attractive, low-maintenance landscape that preserves views of the river. This rendering shows the former public restroom renovated for community use and the existing kayak take-out stabilized and complemented with a small dock serving kayakers and tubers along the river.



alk: Riverwriverfront

seating area

existing At the former site of Rod’s Rockin Rolls, this private riverfront seating area offers patrons a fine view of the Toccoa River at the GeorgiaTennessee State Line.


proposed Benches and a selfie-worthy Georgia-Tennessee State Line sign make this riverfront area a fun attraction for tourists and locals. Riverfront seating and fresh improvements in this space invite customers to the new Yellowbird Coffee Shop.


rwalk: e v i R historic bridge existing The historic bridge from Copperhill to McCaysville takes visitors across the Georgia–Tennessee state line and offers a picturesque photo opportunity.


proposed Painting the bridge metallic copper evokes the Copper Basin’s rich heritage. This rendering shows Grand Avenue repaved, sidewalks cleaned, crosswalks added, and a state line graphic painted on the road.


existing This side view shows the historic bridge from the patio of the new restaurant taking shape at Riverwalk Shops in McCaysville 112

alk: bridge Riverwhistoric


This night rendering shows the copper-painted bridge illuminated with string lights, creating a beautiful and memorable community focal point. 113

existing The Conoco gas station just past the bridge on Georgia Highway 5 boasts an attractive riverfront location with a currently underutilized rear service building.



rwalk: e v i R public restrooms

proposed Working with this property owner to improve this prime downtown property could extend public use areas along the riverfront. Improvements shown here include paperbark maple street trees, sycamores or other large canopy trees along the river, a sidewalk, and a public restroom facility in a formerly unutilized building.


existing This view of the Toccoa riverbank shows the pathway connecting visitors to the McCaysville Visitor Center. This area offers great potential as a riverfront sitting area.

iR verwalk: visitor center




This after image shows the work underway to improve the existing path at the Visitor Center. Since May 2018, the bank has been cleared; turf, signage, and new benches have been installed; and prominent industrial artifacts are on display from the Ducktown Basin Museum.



This rendering shows the long-term potential of this riverside path and pocket park. Shaded by large-canopy sycamores and spring-flowering dogwoods, benches and hammocks offer tourists a place to relax and take in the riverfront views.


erwalk:center Rivvisitor existing The unfinished sign for the People’s Bank of East Tennessee along Highway 5 in McCaysville offers an opportunity to promote the adjacent McCaysville Visitors Center.

proposed Working with adjacent property owners to add an artificial stone veneer to this sign creates an opportunity to install larger and more legible visitor center signage. The addition of annual color and plantings further welcomes visitors downtown. 118

existing The new McCaysville Visitor Center creates a hub for tourists along the Toccoa River downtown

proposed McCaysville recently received a Local Maintenance & Improvement Grant from GDOT to construct a sidewalk along Market Street to McCaysville City Park. Passing directly by the McCaysville Visitor Center, this new sidewalk will better connect dispersed riverfront assets. With funding and a new sidewalk coming, the community could consider incorporating landscaping, signage, and street trees in some of the excess parking area to improve the visitor experience. 119

existing This riverfront area is planned as a major extension of the adjacent McCaysville City Park.


pedestrian bridge proposed This handsome Cor-Ten steel pedestrian bridge connects visitors and residents across the Toccoa River. Connecting from the park to a point near the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad terminal, this bridge would create a pedestrian loop around McCaysville and Copperhill. It would activate the riverfront, boost the local quality of life, and create an easily accessible recreational activity for residents and train visitors. Cleaning up the riverfront and planting a simple palette of low-maintenance grasses like flowering muhly grass beautifies this extension of McCaysville City Park. 121


l a c Lo n o i t a n i t s De 123

Photo: Jerry Mucklow Photography

top issue:

n o i t a n i t s oL cal De 124


n addition to resolving longstanding connectivity issues in the community, local residents want to ensure that McCaysville, Copperhill, and Ducktown remain real places where locals always feel welcome. While planning wisely to incorporate the thousands of tourists that visit annually, community members want the Copper Basin to remain an authentic, working community for longtime residents. No residents favor a future where local families are forced out of the community in favor of wealthy retirees and visitors. Many residents noted during Step One of the RSVP process that they have seen growth and development overtake other cities, leaving the local community behind and character lost. While recognizing the tourist economy of the area, community members want a downtown that remains targeted to local needs.



Many locals note that the downtown IGA, two drug stores, and more make Copperhill and McCaysville a daily local destination for residents across the Copper Basin. Business relocations and improvements in the works are returning street life to downtown Ducktown as well. Preserving and building on these key community functions is essential for Copperhill and McCaysville to remain consistent, vibrant hubs for future generations. Hardworking longtime local residents keep the Copper Basin a real place. These community members are living ties to the heritage and unique history of this place. To remain an authentic place, growth in the area must serve the community.

If future growth serves only tourists, the authenticity and qualities that make the Copper Basin special will be lost. Further, the condensed seasonal nature of tourism in the area means that any successful business must rely on the local community in off-season winter months. For growth and development to be successful, businesses like new restaurants and shops must offer something appealing and attainable to locals. Residents suggested potential programming like “locals-only� nights and local discounts. They also identified the need for expanded community facilities like parks, pavilions, and more. As with improvements in downtown connectivity, community-focused projects included in this section offer additional utility both to residents and visitors, boosting the appeal of Copperhill, McCaysville, and Ducktown and creating a year-round community hub.


estination: D train depot

existing This landscaped area in front of Copperhill City Hall features one of the few open public spaces in the city.


proposed Utilizing a few available parking spaces, the design for this proposed pavilion draws on the historic Copperhill Depot to create a welcoming, covered outdoor space for train visitors and locals alike.


existing As visitors get off of the train at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Copperhill stop, there is no welcoming signage to greet them, and the wall is in disrepair. 130

train depot : n o ti a n Desti


Until funding can be secured to fix the wall, a large printed banner can be placed in front to greet guests as they step off the train. The sign features the regional logo, and the colors and fonts are consistent with the overall Copper Basin brand. 131

Destination: train depot existing Currently, when visitors disembark the Tennessee Valley Railroad in the heart of Copperhill, they are met with asphalt, the backs of buildings, and limited landscaping. This lackluster first impression of the community could be greatly improved with minimal landscaping, sidewalk, and other improvements.

proposed Repaved asphalt, visible pedestrian crossings, improved landscaping, new trees, and welcome signage let visitors know they have arrived in a place worth visiting. Improvements like the depot-themed pavilion, branded signage, and mural speak to the community’s history and character. 132

Destination: horseshoe bend park existing Fannin County Parks and Recreation reached out to planners and designers from the Institute of Government to replace the aging restroom facility at Horseshoe Bend Park.

proposed The rendering depicts a larger restroom facility with aesthetics that match the character of the area. The concrete block building features split-face blocks at the base, smooth-faced concrete blocks above, and fluted concrete accent blocks. The use of several types of concrete blocks increases the overall appeal of the building. The dark roof, green doors, and tan-colored concrete blocks blend with the park setting. Handsome signage, lighting, and plantings complete the look. 133

Destination: horseshoe bend park

existing This large former recreational field features gorgeous views and open space wide enough for multiple uses.

proposed A new integrated stage and pavilion increases the rentable space at the park while providing a location for larger programmed events. A playground here keeps children within sight while parents enjoy the festivities. A paved recreational trail offers a sound surface for joggers, bicyclists, and walkers to enjoy more of the park. Matching the design of new structures with elements of the existing pavilions brings cohesion to the park’s design. The shed could be used for concessions during larger events. Several new trees in the area offer shade for trail-users and children playing on the playground. The overall layout of the site seeks to preserve the beautiful view into the distant grassy field and mountain peaks.




interior courtyard

existing Adjacent to Weird Oh! and the new Riverwalk Shops, this vacant area on Highway 5 is a prominent dead space in the center of downtown McCaysville.

proposed Adding an entry into the Riverwalk Shops makes this a functional courtyard and entry area. With the addition of paint, cheerful murals, low-maintenance pavers, string lights, and a fire pit, this interior courtyard space could become a new gathering spot downtown.



r E ‘ t Ge e n o D

one-year work program 138


Get ‘Er Done :

one-year work program


n addition to long-term strategies like addressing connectivity and planning important infrastructure projects in the community, several large projects already planned or in progress have the potential to address key community needs and improve lives in the Copper Basin for years to come. From working to connect sidewalks and expand McCaysville City Park to partnering with the USDA for potential sewer improvements in Copperhill, projects already in the works represent critical priorities for the community. These ongoing projects are captured in a one-year work program for the community. In addition, residents across the Copper Basin identified several projects that could be quickly and relatively cheaply implemented. While streetscaping and heavy infrastructure improvements are planned, these projects require the long investment of time and significant resources. Prior to and during the planning and development of larger projects, being able to see and experience small but meaningful changes builds momentum and keeps the community invested in improvement efforts. From allowing the McCaysville street sweeper to sweep streets in Copperhill to repairing existing streetlights, short-term projects offer the cities of Copperhill, McCaysville, and Ducktown the chance to immediately begin enacting the community vision for the Copper Basin. These projects require all the communities in the Basin to work together and to the same end. As one community with multiple municipalities, success should be shared across city limits with city leaders, residents, and staff pairing resources to get the job done. 140



Like many tree grates throughout downtown McCaysville/Copperhill, this empty space speaks to the lack of replanting over time.

Replacing missing street trees brings shade, color, and a feeling of community investment to the city’s sidewalks.

Grouped under the heading “Get ‘Er Done,” projects like cleaning streets, repairing street lights, and replanting missing trees are scaled to accommodate the limited resources of local governments. Other projects, such as working with the Tennessee Overhill Heritage Association to beautify the Copperhill train arrival area, will require partnering with private businesses, civic groups, and volunteers. By activating volunteers, recruiting community groups like the McCaysville Revitalization Committee, and partnering with businesses and private citizens across the Copper Basin, the community could immediately begin implementing and working to complete several projects identified by local residents. The Copper Basin Steering Committee has already sought partners to implement many identified projects, including pursuing a GDOT grant to extend sidewalks to McCaysville City Park and working with Galinski Enterprises to light and repaint the historic bridge downtown. 141

key projects and short-term implementation strategies include: • Unifying Look for Copper Basin Communities (Brand/Identity) • Arrival Signage for Cars and for Train Visitors • Pedestrian Wayfinding • Ducktown Basin Museum Wayfinding • Streetscapes • Crosswalks, Sidewalks, Street Lamps, Benches, Trash Cans, etc. • Highway 5 DOT-Slated Improvements • River Walk • Small Gathering and Sitting Areas that Connect along the River • Repair Street Lights in McCaysville • Plant Trees • Paint and Light the Historic Bridge • Install String Lights at Horseshoe Bend Park Main Stage • Paint Faded Crosswalks • Clean Copperhill Streets • Adopt and Integrate Brand • Stock Tennessee Business Information in McCaysville Welcome Center • Print Wayfinding Brochure and Bumper Sticker • Print and Install Large Wayfinding Signage • Start Copperhill Bench Donation Program • Present Branding and Plan to Public and Civic Organizations • Develop a “Bridge to Bridge” Walking Tour and Brochure • Research Bridge or Downtown Banners • Make Copperhill Sewer and Infrastructure Improvements • Expand McCaysville City Park • Extend Sidewalks to McCaysville City Park


Work Program Wo r k Pr ogr am Lead



Completion Date

Paint Faded Crosswalks in McCaysville

Chief Mike Early


GDOT Funding

Spring 2019

Plant Trees Where Possible in Copperhill

City of Copperhill

Tara Akins



Clean Copperhill Streets

City of Copperhill

City Employees

General Fund


Facilitate Brand Adoption

Jan Hackett, Sarah Mickens

Tamberlyn Tanner, Copper Basin Business Assoc.


Spring 2019

SETD, Sarah Mickens Chuck Hammonds



Allison Cape

Tamberlyn Tanner, Jan Hackett, Sarah Mickens

Fannin Co. Chamber of Commerce

Spring 2019

Rodney Patterson

McCaysville Revitalization Committee

City of McCaysville

Summer 2019

Plant Trees along Parking Lot by Post Office in McCaysville

Zachary Welch, Ann Williams

McCaysville Revitalization Committee

City of McCaysville

Fall 2019

Paint and Light the Historic Bridge

Matthew Cole

Galinski Enterprises

$50,000, TBD

Summer 2020

Install String Lights at the Horseshoe Bend Park Main Stage

Kathy Stewart

Bob Stewart

Danny Bivins

Spring 2019

Improve Creek Area at the State Line/Highway 5 and Highway 68 Intersection

City of Copperhill, Sarah Mickens

IGA, Ed Best, Elizabeth


Fall 2019

Paint Faded Crosswalks in Copperhill

City of Copperhill


Spring 2019

Work Program Item

Stock Tennessee Business Information in the McCaysville Welcome Center

Finalize Wayfinding Map Information Repair Street Lights Next to Church in McCaysville



Work Program Wo rk P r o g r a m Work Program Item




Completion Date

Print Wayfinding Brochure

Copper Basin Business Assoc.

Jan Hackett, Fannin County Chamber of Commerce

Fannin Co. Chamber of Commerce

Spring 2019

Print Copper Basin Bumper Stickers

Allison Cape

Zachary Welch, Tamberlyn Tanner

Institute of Govt via Lyndhurst Grant

Spring 2019

Print Large Vinyl Wayfinding Signage for Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad

Allison Cape, Zachary Welch, Sarah Mickens, Jan Hackett

Institute of Govt, Fannin Co. Chamber of Commerce

Institute of Govt via GMA/GCF Grant

Summer 2019

Order Stencil and Paint Arrival Mural on Highway 60

Matthew Cole

Galinski Enterprises


Summer 2019

Print Large Vinyl Tennessee Overhill Train Arrival Sign

Chuck Hammonds

SETD, Tennessee Valley Railroad

Institute of Govt via Lyndhurst Grant

Summer 2019

Install Large Vinyl Tennessee Overhill Train Arrival Sign

Chuck Hammonds

Tamberlyn Tanner Jan Hackett, Sarah Mickens


Summer 2019

Build Depot Pavilion at Copperhill City Hall

Kathy Stewart

Clay Copeland, USDA


Fall 2019

Create Stencil for Museum

Allison Cape

Copperhill Bench Donation Program

Tamberlyn Tanner

Present Branding and Plan to Public and Civic Organizations

Ken Rush, Ducktown Institute of Govt via Basin Museum, TN Lyndhurst Grant Historical Commission

Copper Basin Business Assoc.

Summer 2019





Fannin Co. Chamber of Commerce

Fannin Co. Chamber of Commerce

Fall 2019

Fannin Co. Chamber of Commerce

Fannin Co. Chamber of Commerce

Summer 2019

Fannin Co. Chamber

Zachary Welch, of Commerce, Sarah Mickens McCaysville Revitalization Committee

Develop a “Bridge to Bridge� Walking Tour and Brochure

Jan Hackett, Sarah Mickens

Provide Files of Branding Graphic Elements and Colors to Relevant Organizations

Jan Hackett


Work Program W o r k Pro g ra m Work Program Item




Completion Date

Integrate Copper Basin Brand into Georgia’s Blue Ridge Brand and Website

Jan Hackett

Fannin Co. Chamber of Commerce

Fannin Co. Chamber of Commerce

Summer 2019

Develop and Install Streetlight Banners

Jan Hackett

Fannin Co. Chamber of Commerce

Fannin Co. Chamber of Commerce

Summer 2019

Secure Funding for Copperhill Sewer and Infrastructure Improvements

Kathy Stewart

Kathy Stewart, Clay Copeland, USDA Tennessee

USDA, Two Pending Grant Applications


Expand McCaysville City Park

Thomas Seabolt, Sue Beaver, Zachary Welch, Ann Williams

McCaysville Revitalization Committee, Fannin County Parks and Recreation, Tri-State EMC

Rural Georgia Grant

Summer 2019

Connect Pedestrians to McCaysville City Park

McCaysville Revitalization Committee


LMIG Grant

Summer 2019

Develop State Line Stencil

Allison Cape

McCaysville Revitalization Committee

Possible Lyndhurst or GMA Grant Funding

Summer 2019

Rename Tri-Cities Business Association to Copper Basin Business Association

Tamberlyn Tanner




Convert McCaysville Streetlights to LED

Chief Mike Early

McCaysville Public Safety, Tri-State EMC


Spring 2020

Website Development for Copper Basin Business Association

Tamberlyn Tanner

Matthew Cole

Matthew Cole

Summer 2019

Install Decorative Flower Baskets

Zachary Welch

McCaysville Revitalization Committee

Ongoing Fundraising

Fall 2019



n o i t a t n e m e Impl n o i s u l c n o C and


n o i t a t n e m e l p Im E

nacting the bright community vision of residents requires that local governments work together, communicating regularly and speaking from the same page. To put this plan into action, local governments must continue to reach out and partner with local, regional, and national stakeholders, government entities, and more to ensure improvements are funded. With entities like the Appalachian Regional Commission, GDOT, the Southeastern Tennessee Development District, USDA, and more already invested in this planning process, the Copper Basin RSVP provides a jumping-off point for the community to begin actualizing its shared vision. Already, members of the Copper Basin Steering Committee have made great strides toward realizing the community vision outlined in the RSVP plan. By partnering and collaborating with local businesses, civic groups, and regional partners, community members have attracted interest, funding, and investment to several key projects outlined in the plan.


the items below are completed or in-progress as of april 2019: • The McCaysville Welcome Center is open and is staffed. • The McCaysville Welcome Center is stocked with brochures for attractions in Tennessee. • Rod's Rockin Rolls has relocated to a renovated historic building in Ducktown. • Thirteen new businesses are in the process of relocating to downtown McCaysville and Copperhill, including three restaurants, one café, and two breweries. • Streetscaping construction has begun in downtown Ducktown. • McCaysville received a Local Maintenance & Improvement Grant from GDOT to construct a sidewalk along Market Street to McCaysville City Park. • A major expansion of McCaysville City Park has been approved, and Tri-State EMC is working to plan and install underground power. • A vacant house adjacent to McCaysville City Park has been demolished to make way for downtown parking and park expansion. • The façade of the vacant former Village Restaurant at the entrance to downtown McCaysville has been improved. • Benches have been ordered and have been installed throughout downtown McCaysville.

The Copper Basin Steering Committee should continue meeting and working to see these projects to fruition. By seeing these changes take place, the community can begin to realize the bright future envisioned by community members in the 2019 Copper Basin Renaissance Strategic Vision and Plan.


Copper Basin Business Association

The Copper Basin Business Association, formerly known as the Tri-Cities Business Association, recently changed its name so that it could more accurately represent all businesses within the Copper Basin region with a new look that reflects the style of the new Copper Basin brand. Using the same color palette, fonts, and style, the Copper Basin Business Association logo equally depicts the city names McCaysville, Copperhill, and Ducktown with the bridge in the center as a unifying symbol of togetherness and progress. Georgia and Tennessee are shown beneath, reminding the viewer that the Copper Basin Business Association is “too great for one state.�


McCaysville City Park

These plans developed by Bodiford Design Consultant, LLC illustrate a four-acre expansion to the city’s popular McCaysville City Park already underway. Complete with amenities like a playground, splash pad, picnic tables, and riverfront deck, this park will bring more community life and activity to the riverfront.


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