2018 Common Ground Summit

The Revitalization of Porterdale
Session Two - 11 AM - Athena E

Photo: William Brawley, The Georgia Conservancy

Photo: William Brawley, The Georgia Conservancy

Session Description and Noteworthy Project Aspects:
This panel will focus on the revitalization of Porterdale through utilizing natural and built resources including the establishment of the Yellow River Water Trail and the transformation of the Historic Porterdale Mill. Discussions on using outdoor recreation as a sustainable mechanism for growth will accompany an analysis on how this unique community leveraged funding for a plethora of development projects. Porterdale is a wonderful example of a small Georgia town utilizing river frontage and historic preservation of existing structures to build an outdoor economy for both residents and visitors.



Bob Thomson - City Manager, Porterdale

Bob Thomson was appointed Porterdale’s City Manager in June 2010, where he's helped secure $2.5 million in grant funding for utility improvements, trailhead development, land acquisition, repurposing significant historic civic buildings, and housing stock rehabilitation. In his free time, Bob enjoys getting out on his mountain bike to put the new trails and parks to good use. He and his wife, Dori Stiles, live in a restored Porterdale mill house built in 1907. The Department of Revenue reluctantly gave them a historic tax credit for following the Secretary of Interior guidelines.

Ryan Roth - Founder and Owner, Nomadic Flow Outfitters



Tracie Sanchez - Tourism Product Development, Georgia Department of Economic Development

Decades of exploring trails are living proof that ‘all who wander are not lost’ because here she is. Tracie also happens to be a map lover (hence the not getting lost part).  Her career path to Tourism Product Development at GDEcD includes roles as a graphic designer, Lake Tahoe park ranger and ski bum, University of Georgia Leadership Coordinator, and Georgia Trail Summit Director, with an Master's in Public Adminstration from UGA. Noting the gap in trails leadership and the need for statewide resources, she aims to support all of Georgia's trail endeavors. Her daily bike ride or run with her husband Jeff is along the South Peachtree Creek Trail in a Decatur neighborhood connected to Emory University.


If you have any questions regarding this panel, please email Georgia Conservancy Stewardship Trips Director Laura Buckmaster at lbuckmaster@gaconservancy.org