Historical Society seeks to increase tourism
Organization working to bring back the Pow Wow to Polk County, draw in crowds for a September event
Tourism is a boost the economy in Polk County needs, and Greg Gray of the Polk County Historical Society has a great idea to get more people to visit locally.
He took to the Polk County Commission’s Monday, April 8 work session and an hour later to the Cedartown City Commission’s regular session as a delegate to speak on the connection between local history and tourism, as well as to ask for cooperation from the county and city in future events.
“I’m hoping that I can persuade you all to throw a little more support towards looking at tourism as a revenue,” Gray explained.
The society, despite currently receiving little to no financial backing from the county, has been hosting self-funded, self-organized events to both honor the history of Polk and draw in citizens from out of town.
This spring, the group even began hosting tours of historic cemeteries, houses, and much more. The museum, which recently moved into a much larger building, is open from 11 a.m. through 4 p.m. every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 117 West Ave., Cedartown.
The group is by no means dependent on county government for assistance, but there’s no telling how much more the historical society could accomplish with some additional aid. Of note, the Historical Society rents both the museum and the Hawkes Library from the City of Cedartown.
Gray’s hoping that with more events going on in the area, Polk County can benefit from much needed economic growth brought on dollars from outside of the area.
“We’ve already had, this past Saturday, a tour at Greenwood Cemetery,” Gray said. “What we’re working on now is, and if there’s any way the county could help on this, we’re planning on doing a pow wow up here at the fairgrounds. Right off, if there’s any finance money under the table or any place, we’re needing a thousand dollars to pay rent on that place.”
The idea is that, if the county were willing to support events like the Pow Wow, the increased tourism would more than pay for any seed money supplied. Gray acknowledged the budget for the year had already been settled but asked for them to consider the society the next time around.
During his session with the City of Cedartown, Gray laid out an ambitious plan for organizing the forthcoming Pow Wow in Cedartown, a return of the event not held for the past several years. Currently, the calendar has a tentative date of September 20 through Sept. 22.
Gray is working with the Cedartown Exchange Club to rent the fairgrounds for the space, and plans include a Sunday Memorial walk along the Trail of Tears starting with prayer service in Big Spring Park to open the final of the threeday event. He said due to the larger number of people that could potentially come for the event, he wanted to move it from its previous home at the Bert Wood Youth and Athletic Center to an area that allows for greater parking and space.
Cedartown officials told Gray that he would have to work with the city to ask for permission to use the park, and buses would be used to move people back and forth to different locations around the city.
No money was pledged towards the Pow Wow or the Historical Society, but the commission seemed more than willing to cooperate with Gray in the future. County Commission Chair Jennifer Hulsey mentioned the group even had plans to discuss the Historic Van Wert Church and its preservation.
“We appreciate all you do, and also, the Van Wert Church, it’s something we’ve been talking about,” Hulsey said. “We’re going to be meeting on that. We’ve talked with Michael about it. There are parties that are interested in looking at doing something, so we’re gonna continue with that, Mr. Gray, and hopefully, we’ll have something rolling pretty soon. There may be a grant possibility.”
Those interested in learning more about the Polk County Historical Society can visit https://polkhist.com/.