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