Georgia Trend and the University of Georgia have announced this new award recognizing community collaboration, leadership and innovation.
“Polk County is making great strides in working together on common strategic goals to ensure our community is prepared to offer the best job opportunities, efficient government, and quality of life in Northwest Georgia. This prestigious award is proof that, with vision, cooperation, and determination, Polk County can shine throughout the South,” say’s Jason Ward, Polk County Commissioner.
Having goals and putting them into motion has been exactly what Polk County has done.
“Polk County has much to offer and we are on the road to make sure everyone knows it. It is the mission of the Polk County Development Authority to bring quality jobs and opportunities for the citizens of Polk County through continued growth in new and existing industry and the redevelopment of areas of commercial blight or underuse. Using the philosophy “if we Can’t, Don’t or Won’t, someone else Can, Do, or Will”, has allowed us to work together to meet the needs of business and work together to bring the citizens of Polk County the best life has to offer,” says Eric McDonald, President of the Development Authority of Polk County.
The County has worked side by side with Georgia Power as well as business and industry owners, city/county employees and other community members to implement a strategic plan for Polk County and is now watching results of all the hard work done. Dale Tuck, Cedartown City Commissioner comments, "As a member of the Strategic Planning and Vision Committee and as a Cedartown City Commissioner, I have seen firsthand the willingness of Georgia Power to work with the separate entities in the county.
I think everyone in Polk County has Bryan Griffin of Georgia Power on speed dial.
This award is further proof that we all win when stakeholders make the conscious effort to share goals, compromise and work together."
The Strategic Plan with the help of the Fanning Institute began in 2011. Going through many sessions of dissecting the strengths and weaknesses of Polk County has given the results they needed to push forward with their goals.
Mr. Chuck Scragg, Regional Project Manager with Georgia Power Company, Community and Economic Development Department comments, “Polk County has “tenacity”, pride and self reliance within its DNA. Like many other counties, it suffered job and business losses over the past few years.
When its Tier status was changed to reflect the lowest and poorest tier, its leaders got together and decided to strike back. Recognizing that this was a county that would do everything it could to pull itself up, Georgia Power funded a community assessment to identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities.
As a next step, on their own, leaders from county government, the cities of Cedartown, Rockmart and Aragon, Polk County Schools, the Chamber of Commerce and the Development Authorities, along with many members of the private sector raised the funds to commission an Economic Development Strategic Plan.
This plan assisted in identifying industry and assisting their existing business base. Longer range goals have identified work force development and infrastructure improvements.
By systematically following a structured approach they have been able to achieve amazing success, in a short period, particularly with existing industry expansions.
“On track and under budget” they are methodically improving the employment rates, household income, and other economic development indicators which have helped them back to a Tier 2 status. Their County motto is “Live Life Here”, but it could be “We are the Little Train that could”.
It couldn’t be stated any better that Polk County has initiative. Through hard work, community collaboration, strong leadership and determination the future of Polk County is clear, nothing will get in their way to better its quality of life.
“Polk County is invested in its Citizens and we aim to make sure that the quality of life here is the best we have to offer them. We are happy to work with other entities to make certain that the quality of life here is the best we can give. It has been a pleasure to work beside so many dedicated men and women from this community and those involved in the strategic plan to pursue the same vision, to ensure that Polk County thrives with economic developments, new and existing industries and businesses, tourism and entertainment, and most of all a place to call home. This award shows that and we are humbled to receive It.” says Mayor of Rockmart, Steve Miller.
Polk County is on the road to success with aspirations of continued growth and prosperity.
“Polk County is not just a place, it’s a place to start a business, grow a family, visit with neighbors and enjoy the hospitality that all of the Citizens of Polk County are so eager to offer and that is just what Polk County is sharing with anyone who will listen. Polk County has much to offer and we are on the road to make sure that everyone knows it.” Eric McDonald says.
Polk County is not just talking about the future they are planning for the future and making great waves of possibility for new and continued economic growth. Georgia Trend and the University of Georgia have recognized all the hard work and efforts in Polk’s vision for the future.
Jeff Ellis, City Manager of Rockmart comments, “Being named as a recipient as one of the “2013 Four for the Future” by Georgia Trend and the University of Georgia is a great honor. The commitment made by all who participated was unbelievable and the vision set will help lead Polk County to fulfillment as a community that is focused and working for the economic success and quality of life for all who live, work and play here. “We are Polk County”.