| Gilmer County offers not only an environment and lifestyle beyond compare, but a dynamic economic climate as well – all supported by an energetic and effective Chamber of Commerce.
The population of Gilmer County has soared from a mere 16,000 in 1995 to almost 30,000 today – and projections are that our numbers may exceed 70,000 by 2025. The reasons for this unprecedented growth are clear: small town ambience, access to high-powered markets, a thriving tourist industry (more than $200 million generated by tourism in our area) and an environment that offers countless delights. Our infrastructural developments have met, and exceeded, the needs of our flourishing county as we seamlessly make the transition from the small rural community of yesterday to the dynamic entity of today.
Agribusiness plays a vital role in Gilmer’s economic success. Poultry farms, beef cattle and apple production make up the majority of the county’s agribusiness sector and in many respects, farming influences the nature and tenor of the Gilmer County community as a whole. In 2002 Gilmer ranked ninth in the state in terms of total farm gate value – a giant leap from its position at sixteenth only four years earlier. Here, the apple is king; 60% of all apple trees in Georgia are found within our county with a production of more than 600,000 bushels of apples per year.
New business start-ups and Fortune 500 companies, agribusiness or otherwise, can avail themselves of Georgia’s and Gilmer County’s many tax credits. Establishing or relocating your headquarters or new manufacturing facilities may qualify you
|for tax credits for establishing jobs. You may also benefit from
the tax credits designed to accelerate economic growth in Georgia’s competitive industries and for those meeting specific business needs for manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, processing, telecommunications, tourism, and research and development firms.|
Small businesses thrive in our area with the assistance of programs designed specifically to meet their unique needs: programs developed in conjunction with the University of Georgia’s Small Business Center, Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center and the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s regional offices.
Gilmer County has been designated by the state as an "Entrepreneur Friendly" community for its efforts in cultivating business environments that develop and encourage entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Business owners and employees will find Georgia and Gilmer County to be ideal in terms of personal occupational development growth and success. Workforce training programs, supported by the Employer’s Credit for Approved Employee Retraining, include ongoing retraining of employees to help them to learn the new skills required in an increasingly competitive business environment. The low cost of living across the state, lower energy costs and valuable tax credits all work to increase savings for employers and provide a better quality of life for employees.
Economic Development: Responsible Growth
| The once sleepy little mountain towns of Ellijay and East Ellijay are already experiencing their share of progress, as more people and light-industry companies are lured and lulled by the area’s charms. Along with vacationers-turned-retirees, the big players like Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, LongHorn and Starbucks are already here, and other retailers are on their way to provide the county’s burgeoning population with all the comforts of home in the mountains.
Progress is taking shape in Ellijay in a variety of forms: The city will soon host its first active adult community, The Summit, where folks 55 and better can enjoy the good life they’ve worked hard to achieve. Meanwhile, residents of all ages enjoy the charm of Ellijay’s historic downtown, whose buildings and ambience is both promoted and protected by the Better Hometown Commission. Working hand-in-hand with preservationists and developers, this Commission guides property and
business owners direction on the look of new buildings, and has a say in which structures can be replaced by new buildings. As part of the national Main Street movement, Ellijay has been named a Better Hometown by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, reflecting the city's commitment to attracting and retaining small businesses in the downtown area. Also, a new 80,000 square foot facility which will house county offices and courts is underway, which is part of a $30 million bond issue passed in 2007 that also funds new roads, bridges, recreation, fire and public safety facilities, as well as a new jail and animal control shelter.
Just one mile east across Highway 515, East Ellijay is busy developing the general commer
Economic Development: Transportation
• 22,000 Square feet of Hanger Space with
CSX piggyback - Atlanta (80 miles)
CSX rail - Ellijay (local)
Norfolk Southern piggyback - Dalton (38 miles)
Navigable River: Chattahoochee River (9-foot channel depth) with public barge dock at Columbus (176 miles); Seaport: Savannah Seaport (307 miles) with maintained channel depth of 42 feet.
Gilmer County Economic Development Authority (EDA)
The EDA was incorporated in 1990 and is comprised of nine members who are appointed by the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners. Currently the EDA is focusing primarily upon the development of a business and technology park for the county.