Forsyth County leaders address state of community

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FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Forsyth County continues to grow. From 175,000 people in the 2010 U.S. Census numbers to the latest figures of 195,000, the county has experienced a steady stream of new residents. “It’s a number of quality services, facilities, programs and people that, together, make Forsyth County what it is — an absolutely great place to call home,” said Forsyth County Commission Chairman Pete Amos. Amos and School Board Chairperson Darla Light addressed a sold-out annual State of the Community event organized by the Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce and Council for Quality Growth, held at the Forsyth Conference Center, 3410 Ronald Reagan Boulevard on May 1. Amos addressed the county’s new jail and courthouse, which are expected to be completed early 2015, upcoming parks and recreation projects, water reclamation facilities and the economy. “People and companies are investing in our county because they believe in it. And because they want to be a part of the Forsyth County puzzle,” Amos said. The county, Chamber of Commerce and Development Authority, have attracted health care, retail, manufacturing and technology businesses, as well as international corporations Economic development projects from last year are forecasted to create about 600 new jobs and generate $58 million dollars in new capital investment. “And since January of this year alone, our community has participated in eight economic development projects that have already surpassed last year’s totals — generating approximately $72.4 million dollars in new capital investment,” Amos said. School Board Chair Light later added that businesses have contributed greatly to county schools. “Our schools would not be half of what they are if it weren’t for you and your businesses,” Light told the crowd made up of mostly business leaders. “These businesses come in and partner with our schools and do all kinds of wonderful things.” The Forsyth County school district became the seventh largest in the state this year, surpassing Cherokee and Henry counties. The district holds the highest graduation rate among the state’s largest school districts and has the highest SAT scores in the state. It also operates with one of the lowest tax rates in metro-Atlanta. But overcrowding in classrooms continues to be an issue, Light said, pushing for a voter-approval of a $195 million bond initiative this year. If approved on May 20, the bond would update and add new classrooms, increase security, technology infrastructure and alleviate some school overcrowding. “We can’t fail our kids,” Light said. “We cannot fail our kids by not passing this bond because it’s the kids who will suffer.” VIDEO SHOT AND EDITED BY NYDIA TISDALE