• Chamber History

  • In an effort to help assist companies with business related information, The Barnesville-Lamar County Industrial Development Authority has created a COVID-19 page within its website for business related news as it evolves. We will try to post the most updated information as it becomes available both here and on our website.
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    In a special session March 25, the Board of Commissioners did declare Lamar County in Public Health State of Emergency. This does not include the cities of Barnesville nor Milner as they would utilize their own ordinance declaration.

    The full declaration can be found in the files below but the pertinant parts:

    Section 3. Public Gatherings on Lamar County Property

    For the duration of the declared emergency, there shall be no public gatherings on any property owned or controlled by Lamar County. To avoid confusion, the following definitions shall apply under this Section: a "public gathering" shall mean the organized gathering or assembly of ten (10) or more persons at a specific  location;  "property  owned or controlled by Lamar County" shall include any park, public square, public space, playground, recreational area, or similar place of public gathering, but nothing herein shall prohibit individuals or families from using sidewalks or designated pedestrian  areas  of parks for walking or other exercise if they are not participating in an organized gathering.

    Section 4. Classification of County Services

    For the duration of the declared emergency, the County Administrator shall be vested with  the following discretion and authority, to wit:

    To categorize Lamar County services as either "required" or "discretionary," and to periodically review and modify such categories.
    To assign specific employees to required or discretionary services, and to periodically review and modify such assignments.
    To use his discretion to permit employees to telework.

    To temporarily suspend the provision of discretionary services and to direct employees who provide discretionary services not to report to work until such time as the service suspension is lifted or until such time as the Lamar County Administrator redirects the employee to other services.
    To contract for and expend non-budgeted sums and services, as may in his or her discretion be required to meet the demands upon government and services  of Lamar County for the duration of the declared emergency, including therein authority to spend such sums from the reserves of Lamar County. Any such non­ budgeted expenditures shall be reported to the governing authority of Lamar County.
    To maintain, to the best of the ability of the resources of Lamar County, the provision of essential services, which shall include, but not be limited to, public safety, public works , healthcare, and building permits.

    Section 5. Tolling of Deadlines

    Any deadlines for the purchasing or obtaining by persons or businesses of occupation tax certificates, permits or similar civil approvals mandated by the Lamar County Code shall be tolled for the duration of the emergency as established herein, and for 15 days thereafter.

    Such persons or businesses shall obtain necessary penmss1ons required by law but deadlines set by the Lamar County Code are tolled for the duration of the emergency as established herein, and for 15 days thereafter.

    Section 6. Eating Establishments

    Restaurants and other eating and dining establishments where food is served must cease offering dine-in services but may continue preparing and offering food to customers via delivery, drive-through or take-out services. Patrons, employees and contractors of the establishments must maintain at least six (6) feet of personal distance between themselves and others. If a restaurant is licensed to sell beer and wine for on-premises consumption, such restaurant, during the effective dates of this ordinance only, shall be authorized to sell unopened bottles or cans of beer or wine for take-out consumption off-premises.

    Section 7. Closure of Certain Businesses

    Gyms, fitness centers, pools, social clubs, amusement facilities, pool halls, massage parlors, nail salons, and any other similar facility, any facility used for an activity that involves prolonged physical proximity of individuals, and any facility used for entertainment, social, grooming, or general health and wellbeing purposes, must close and remain closed for the duration of this emergency.

    Section 8. Personal Distance

    All other establishments not covered in Section 7 ofthis Ordinance such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and other businesses which remain open during the emergency must post signage on entrance doors informing consumers to maintain at least six (6) feet of personal distance between themselves and others and shall not allow more than ten (10) people into such establishment at any one time if such social distancing cannot be maintained .

    Section 9. Gatherings

    All public and private gatherings of more than ten (10) people occurring outside of a household or living unit are prohibited. Nothing in this ordinance, however, prohibits the gathering of individuals for the purposes of carrying on business certified as "essential" by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 38-3-58 or designated by the Governor as "criticalinfrastructure" or the provision of medical or health services.

    Section 10. Emergency Interim Successor to Administrator

    The governing authority desires to make certain that the chain of authority within Lamar County management is clear. If the Lamar County Administrator is unable to perform his duties, then the individual designated by the Lamar County Administrator as the emergency interim successor pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 38-3-50 shall assume the duties of the Lamar

    County Administrator. Should the emergency interim successor be unable to perform those duties the Commission Chair as Chief Executive Officer of Lamar County shall assume those duties.

    Section 11. Procurement

    The governing authority hereby suspends the bid and competitive portions of the County ' s Procurement Policy or ordinances and authorize the Lamar County Administrator to utilize the single-source policy and to require departments to provide a written justification for the procurement during the effective dates of this Resolution and/or utilize any emergency procurement provisions contained. Lamar County officials shall continue to seek the best prices during the state of emergency.

    Section 12. Declaration of Emergency; Findings. Because the Board of Commissioners only meets once per month, and because of the state of emergency now in effect for the State and County and the danger to the citizens of the County from the COVID-19 virus, and further because the costs, burden and delay of having a specially called meeting in such a short time frame are high, this declaration of emergency and ordinance requires immediate attention. Thus, the County finds that emergency and extraordinary circumstances exist which justify adoption of this Ordinance at the meeting of introduction as contemplated by Section 2-1-9(e) of the Lamar County Code of Ordinances.

    Section 13. Enforcement by police and citation and summons; Penalty for violation

    The Lamar County Sheriff is authorized to enforce the provisions of this declaration of emergency and ordinance. Upon witnessing a violation or upon information constituting probable cause made known to the Lamar County Sheriff or any of his deputes that a violation of the same has occurred, a citation and summons may be issued to the alleged violator requiring them to appear before the presiding judge of the Lamar County Magistrate Court on a day and time certain to answer the charge contained therein.

    Any person who violates any provision of this ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and may be assessed a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) or imprisonment for sixty (60) days or both.

    Section 14. All ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict with the provisions of this Declaration are hereby suspended during the effective dates of this Declaration (or any extension thereof) and the terms and provisions of this Declaration shall prevail.

    This Ordinance after adoption by the Commission and upon approval by the Chairman  shall become effective immediately.

    Special COVID-19 


  • The citizens and business owners of Barnesville needed an organization. They needed a group where they could come together and foster the mutual welfare and benefit of each other’s good and services. In 1910, long before a Lamar County would even exist, an effort to raise money and form a chamber of commerce began.

    Later, on January 9, 2011, an article from the Atlanta Georgian and News reported that, “The citizens of Barnesville have raised the money for the support of the Barnesville Chamber of Commerce and expect to secure the services of an experienced secretary who will be in charge of the business of the organization. It has not been definitely decided who the secretary will be, but the board of directors have narrowed that list down to three men, one of whom will likely be contracted with during the next few days. It is believed that this year will show much progress for the city and community as it is proposed to make the new organization an active influence in the promotion of new enterprises.” William Wakefield of Boston would be selected to serve as the organization’s first secretary and would be paid $1,200 annually for his services. The Barnesville-Lamar County Chamber of Commerce would not be officially incorporated for another forty-eight years.

    In April of 1911, a group calling themselves the Barnesville Convention formed in order to create a statewide trade body. This effort was led by Barnesville Chamber Secretary William Wakefield, Mayor T.W. Cochran, J.W. Garland, Emmet Langford, Judge J.L. Lester, H.H. Gray, R.A. Stafford, and C.O. Dummers. These gentlemen saw a need for a more cohesive cooperation between existing state chambers, and also the need to promote economic development within the state. They began to tour the State of Georgia; lobbying communities, elected officials, and business owners in an attempt to garner support for the formation of the statewide trade body.

    Coming off the high of being the “Buggy Capital of the South”, and in an economic slump with the advent of the automobile, Barnesville was given a Primo car by Atlanta Primo Automotive to use for the state tour. Because this was one of the first cross-state tours of its kind in an automobile, Barnesville, itself, attracted just as much press ink as their statewide efforts to form a state chamber did. After visiting nearly fifty cities, and preparing to take their efforts up the Eastern Seaboard, the Packard Automobile company (having caught wind of the success of  Atlanta Primo Automotive’s generosity), donated a 7-seater Packard to the Barnesville Convention for them to continue their journey through the Carolinas in.

    Later, after reaching as far north as Virginia and New York, the Barnesville Convention would take a train to Washington D.C. to meet with President William Howard Taft to discuss their gigantic efforts with him in person, and while on this trip, and on behalf of the “Buggy Capital of the South”, the Barnesville Convention presented the President with his very own Jackson C. Smith Buggy.

    That summer, on July 19, 1911 the Convention would hold a meeting of over 2,500 delegates in Barnesville, Georgia to discuss the plans for the formation of the statewide trade body—the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. The meeting included Georgia Governor Hoke Smith, Virginia Governor William Mann, and representatives from the New York Chamber of Commerce. On February 16, 1915, the Georgia Manufacturer’s Association was formed and located in Macon, later moved to Atlanta, and then finally incorporated as the Georgia Chamber of Commerce in 1992.

    Fast-forward forty-eight years to the spring of 1959. Barnesville, Georgia found itself thriving in the mid-century days but still without a definitive organization for businesses to brand, build and promote one another. The chamber of commerce hadn’t fully and functionally taken off. Finally, ten men and one woman began stirring the undercurrents for this “business club” to actually happen: Bill Akins, J. Hubert Adams, Bob Abernathy, Billy Bankston, Arthur Burnette, Joe Deraney, John English, Harold Goodman, Joe Keadle, J. Henry Wisebram, and Mrs. Florence Zellner.

    These eleven local business people would lay the groundwork for what would be formally incorporated and become, on July 10, 1959, the Barnesville-Lamar County Chamber of Commerce. This would be fifteen years before its benchmark Buggy Days Festival would begin.