State of the Com­mu­nity in 2017 up­date: Growth

Cities and coun­ties tout in­vest­ments, events and im­prove­ments in the State of the Com­mu­nity 2017 event.

The Standard Journal - - FRONT PAGE - By Kevin Myrick SJ Ed­i­tor

The an­nual re­view of where the com­mu­nity stands put on by the Polk County Cham­ber of Com­merce pro­vided lo­cal lead­ers with the op­por­tu­nity to talk about the achieve­ments, and even some of the work left to do still as 2017 winds down into late fall and the hol­i­day sea­son, and look­ing ahead to the start of a new year.

Cham­ber mem­bers and of­fi­cials from the cities, coun­ties, hospi­tal and more were pro­vided a high­lights ver­sion of what was ac­com­plished this year from all ranges of life, from what mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties have got­ten done to what kind of help peo­ple are get­ting from a va­ri­ety of ser­vices of­fered up at places like One Door Polk.

Those of­fi­cials com­ing up to present their an­nual achieve­ments had one clear mes­sage in mind for the com­mu­nity as a whole: Polk County is right on the cusp of real growth, and peo­ple should get ready for the changes to come.

Here’s a run­down of what of­fi­cials pre­sented dur­ing the an­nual event:

Aragon’s grow­ing re­cre­ation op­tions

Mayor Garry Bald­win pre­sented Aragon’s year in re­view at the Cham­ber event, pro­vid­ing the au­di­ence a glimpse at what has hap­pened in the city over the past months since he took of­fice in Novem­ber 2016.

Among those changes are a new park — Belle Chase Park — plus im­prove­ments at the re­cre­ation ar­eas within the city lim­its al­ready in place.

Those in­clude new pic­nic ta­bles at parks and the Mill Pond, and a just fin­ished new bas­ket­ball goal at Jake Belk Park as well.

Bald­win also went over im­prove­ments at Aragon City Hall, many of those items that cit­i­zens wouldn’t usu­ally no­tice un­less pointed out like se­cu­rity sys­tems, po­lice and city hall IT up­grades, new po­lice ve­hi­cles and more.

He also talked about the Aragon Com­mu­nity Cen­ter’s im­prove­ments, which just this week­end was used for a Hal­loween-themed event on Satur­day.

Bald­win ad­di­tion­ally added his praise for the turnout at the first Aragon Pump­kin Fes­ti­val and the an­nual Aragon BBQ.

Cedar­town touts grow­ing

busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties

It has been a year of good news for the City of Cedar­town, with a num­ber of lo­cal in­dus­tries and busi­nesses mak­ing big in­vest­ments in the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

Tech­ni­cally cities only make and en­act poli­cies that pro­vide in­cen­tive for busi­nesses to grow, but in 2017 those en­cour­age­ments have seen sev­eral ex­pan­sions be­ing an­nounced for the year.

The HON Co., Cedarstrea­m and Ki­moto Tech have all an­nounced or fin­ished up ex­pan­sion projects this year, with Ki­moto Tech just this month cel­e­brat­ing the grand open­ing of their up­graded pro­duc­tion line at their Cedar­town fa­cil­ity.

Ear­lier this year, The HON Co. an­nounced up­grades and new hires to come within their fa­cil­ity, as well as Cedarstrea­m with a new fa­cil­ity set to be­gin con­struc­tion later this year or as late as early 2018 in the North­side In­dus­trial Park.

Com­mis­sioner Jor­dan Hub­bard, who pro­vided this year’s pre­sen­ta­tion for the city to the Cham­ber event, touted 80-plus new jobs in the area, and an over­all in­vest­ment of $25 mil­lion an­nounced or made this year.

Ad­di­tion­ally, Hub­bard also got to talk about the new ten­ants at One Door Polk which has about filled that fa­cil­ity, down­town busi­ness growth, in­vest­ments in Cedar­town hous­ing, the city’s new or ren­o­vated busi­nesses like Bo­jan­gle’s, Trac­tor Sup­ply and Lit­tle Cae­sar’s to name a few.

He also talked about the city’s con­tin­ued fight against blight, with two ad­di­tional houses sched­uled for de­mo­li­tion this year, sev­eral re­moved at owner’s ex­pense, and one brought up to code.

Nu­mer­ous other pos­i­tives for the city were added, such as in­ter­nal up­grades and new mo­bile tick­et­ing sys­tems, and this year’s largest ever turnout of ven­dors for Cedar­town’s fall fes­ti­val in the event’s 40 year his­tory.

Rock­mart loves their

in­vest­ment too

Just as much as their neigh­bor to the west has en­joyed the an­nounce­ment of growth, so has Rock­mart as 2017 winds down to a close.

The City of Rock­mart’s big changes have come in the form of busi­ness growth just as much as par­tic­i­pa­tion in Re­think Rock­mart has also pro­vided pos­i­tive ef­forts of im­prove­ment Mayor Steve Miller told the as­sem­bled of­fi­cials last week dur­ing their Oct. 24 event.

He had a lot of good news to share with the county’s largest em­ployer Meg­gitt an­nounc­ing a mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar ex­pan­sion and new hires in the years to come, along with the ad­di­tional re­build­ing and im­prove­ments still on the rise at JCG Farms Feed Mill on High­way 101, as well as Miura’s ex­pan­sion with a new show­room as well.

Miller also got to talk about two new busi­nesses that will make an im­pact in years to come as well now open and serv­ing cus­tomers. Rock­mart’s new Chick-fil-A and Martin’s restau­rant — the first ex­pan­sion of Martin’s in more than a decade — and how when they an­nounced their ar­rival in Rock­mart, other busi­nesses have be­gun to look into the city as well.

He also talked about the im­pact that Re­think Rock­mart has made on the city, their Geor­gia Ini­tia­tive for Com­mu­nity Hous­ing group look­ing to tackle hous­ing and com­mu­nity is­sues through clean-ups and neigh­bor­hood pro­grams like team­ing up with Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity to take part in the A Brush with Kind­ness pro­gram.

Miller also touted the suc­cess of the city for host­ing three fes­ti­vals a year now, com­plet­ing their fi­nal event of the year with a suc­cess­ful River­walk Fes­ti­val on Oct. 21.

Polk mak­ing strides in pub­lic

safety, pub­lic works

Com­mis­sion vice chair Jen­nifer Hulsey pro­vided a brief overview of how Polk County is mak­ing strides to im­prove and bet­ter serve the whole of the com­mu­nity.

The open­ing of the new Pub­lic Works fa­cil­ity and the new 911 Op­er­a­tions Cen­ter are among the ar­eas where Hulsey said that up­grades are al­ready pay­ing off for the lo­cal com­mu­nity, but also cited growth in rentals at the Polk County Air­port as signs of ad­di­tional com­ing growth and im­prove­ments.

Hulsey also used her time to thank the com­mu­nity again on be­half of the county for their sup­port fol­low­ing the tragic killing of Det. Kris­ten Hearne, asked for a mo­ment of si­lence in her honor, and added that plans will soon be an­nounced to honor her mem­ory in an ap­pro­pri­ate way in the weeks to come.

She also said she hoped the uni­fy­ing mo­ment of the tragedy would re­mind the com­mu­nity that when ev­ery­one works to­gether, the whole of Polk County can achieve more than when they are work­ing on items separately.

Check back in next week’s edi­tion for Part 2 of the State of the Com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing pre­sen­ta­tions from State Rep. Trey Kel­ley, from the Cham­ber, from CASA Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Belinda Bentley, DAPC Chair David Wil­liams and the Polk School Dis­trict.

Aragon Mayor Garry Bald­win talks about the changes in the city since he took of­fice last Novem­ber at the 2017 State of the Com­mu­nity ad­dress. Kevin Myrick / Stan­dard Jour­nal

Kevin Myrick / Stan­dard Jour­nal

Jen­nifer Hulsey asks the crowd for a mo­ment of si­lence to honor the mem­ory of De­tec­tive Kris­ten Hearne dur­ing the 2017 State of the Com­mu­nity ad­dress.

Cedar­town Com­mis­sion Chair­man Jor­dan Hub­bard praises the ac­com­plish­ments of the city in a va­ri­ety of ar­eas dur­ing his pre­sen­ta­tion. Kevin Myrick / SJ

Rock­mart Mayor Steve Miller talks about the city’s new busi­nesses and more dur­ing the 2017 State of the Com­mu­nity ad­dress. Kevin Myrick / SJ

Kevin Myrick / SJ

Polk Cham­ber of Com­merce board chair Britt Mad­den Jr. takes on em­cee du­ties.

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