Coweta in Focus

Building a Better Coweta, one project at a time

by Greg Wright, President, Coweta County Development Authority

(Editor’s note: Coweta in Focus features views of several Newnan and Coweta community leaders.)

By Greg Wright President Coweta County Development Authority

This past Monday I had the pleasure of spending an hour with a group of county commissioners at the Association County Commissioners of Georgia’s Capitol Connection Conference in Atlanta.

One of my economic development colleagues, Missy Kendrick from the Barnesville-Lamar County Industrial Development Authority, joined me for a panel discussion to county commissioners from around the state about how economic development works in our community and how they can help the economic development process back home.

The Census Bureau estimates the population of Lamar County is just over 18,000 people while the population of Coweta County is over 130,000 people. You would think there would be tremendous differences between our two counties (and there are, of course), but the more we talked the more we learned that we face some of the same issues.

The most glaring issue that we both share is building availability. Coweta County has an industrial vacancy rate of less than 3 percent while Lamar County has no industrial building inventory available. I have spoken often about this issue and the need for more industrial building space. Since most projects begin their location search by looking for an available building, the fact that our inventory is very low means many economic development projects are passing us by for communities that have vacant buildings right now.

Both counties are working to address that issue. Locally, the Coweta County Commission took a major step in helping when the commissioners approved the recent changes to the impact fee ordinance. While industrial lease rates slowly increase, the numbers still make new ventures difficult, so eliminating the impact fees removes an important hurdle that has kept new projects from breaking ground.

We live in a great community, and we have a great story to tell. This is one chapter that remains to be written, but, through hard work and dedication throughout our community, there are great things to come.

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