Plans for a storytelling box in Rossville and outdoor rooftop dining space in Chickamauga split the top prize in the second round of the Walker Rocks Start-up Challenge.

The $5,000 start-up grant is funded by a partnership between the Walker County Chamber of Commerce and Peach State Federal Credit Union. Grant funds will be distributed in the form of a reimbursement for documented expenses.

“This micro-grant has allowed us to financially assist those in the community who are already active in trying to increase tourism and enhance the quality of life,” Walker County Chamber of Commerce President Lacey Wilson said. “With the support of Peach State Federal Credit Union, we hope to continue growing this program to fund additional projects on an even larger scale in the future.”

Susan Wells with Rossville Redev Workshop, Kevin Martin with Phil’s Primetime Pizza and three other finalists received three minutes to pitch their ideas to contribute to the cultural vibrancy of the local economy, while increasing Walker County’s visibility as a tourism destination.

Wells presented the concept of adding a Solar Eco-Box as part of the next phase of improvements to the John Ross Commons Area in Rossville. The Eco-Box will feature a number of buttons that visitors can press to hear information about John Ross, the John Ross House, Walker Rocks and other Walker County attractions.

Martin shared his vision for a rooftop deck that his restaurant and an adjacent ice cream shop plan to turn into a unique place to hang out.

“This will probably be the coolest spot in town when it comes to Down Home Days, the Christmas Parade, Ironman or any of the events we have in Chickamauga,” Martin said. The deck will provide additional seating for the two small businesses and double as an outdoor venue for parties and receptions.

“While all of the applicants were deserving, we felt that the two winning ideas best represented the intended purpose of the grant,” said Meagan Jolley, Walker chamber board member and public relations manager for See Rock City, who served on the panel of judges.

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