COVINGTON — Twelve Oaks Bed and Breakfast is expanding, and the owner is hoping to obtain a state grant to help pay the cost.
Twelve Oaks owner Nicole Greer got the support of the City Council at its July 15 meeting for the city to be the applicant for a Tourism Product Development Agreement grant of up to $15,000. If awarded, the city will be the conduit for the funds.
Greer said Twelve Oaks currently has six guest rooms and there are two more she hopes to renovate and open on the third floor. She said her inn generates tourism revenue in the community because it is within walking distance of the historic district and guests eat and shop there. Guests usually have high disposable income, since rates range from $180 to $300 per night, she said. The city also receives hotel/motel tax from the business, she said.
The Tourism Product Development program is a joint venture between the Georgia Department of Economic Development Tourism Division and the Georgia Council for the Arts. The program supports sustainable tourism development activities at the local level that maintain and/or create jobs, attract tourists and enhance the tourist’s experience.
Greer said the only risk in applying for the grant is that the money would have to be returned to the state if the project is not completed. “I’m willing to say ‘Don’t give me the money until I complete the project,’” she said, adding that there is no financial risk to the city.
The grant requires a local match that would be funded by Greer, she said.
The council approved the request pending review by the city’s legal team.
The circa 1836 antebellum home at 2176 Monticello St. has undergone a major renovation since Greer purchased the then-vacant home in 2011. She named it Twelve Oaks after the home of the character Ashley Wilkes in the movie “Gone with the Wind.” Greer said that Margaret Mitchell saw a photo of the then-Whitehall in the Atlanta Journal in 1939 and told set designers she wanted it used as a model for Ashley’s home.
Fans of “The Vampire Diaries” often stay there and tour filming locations in town.
Earlier this year, Twelve Oaks was named a Top 10 Luxury Inn by BedandBreakfast.com. Since opening in 2012, Twelve Oaks has welcomed visitors from all over the world, including Australia, England, Canada, New Zealand and Denmark.