The Haralson County Development Authority (HCDA) wants citizens to know them better and how seeking mutual goals can lead to a more prosperous county, according to the authority’s top officials.
“Our mission is to network statewide, prospecting for industries which will locate here and provide jobs, leading to community and economic development,” said Tara Chapman, the authority’s Executive Director. “We also work with the Chamber of Commerce on the needs of existing industries.”
Chairman Donny Boswell of HCDA’S Board of Directors said, “The authority’s main project currently is to fill the Georgia West Industrial Park near Buchanan. While not forgetting about those industries and businesses already here, we also try to identify for prospective industries existing buildings and empty tracts of land throughout the county.”
“Georgia West came about through a public-private partnership,” said Chapman. “We have one industry that has been in the park since 2006 – Suzukaku USA Inc., manufacturer of ATV parts for Yamaha, which has 25 employees and is the first Suzukaku plant in North America.”
What does Georgia West offer to interested industrial firms?
“Water, natural gas, and fiber optics, with U.S 27 Highway and rail service easily accessible,” Chapman said. “Providing a sewerage system can be challenging, but not overwhelming.”
The largest tract of land available to prospective investors is 189 acres.
“We conduct regular visits to plants, and we have seen our existing industries grow in recent years,” said Chapman. “The Development Authority takes great pride in all our industries. All are important corporate citizens, regardless of size.
“Honda Lock of Bremen has some 600 workers, one of the largest industrial work forces in the county, and is about ready to celebrate 15 years in Haralson County,” said Chapman. “They manufacture vehicle locks and rear view mirror frames. They are good partners with communities in Haralson, Carroll, Douglas, Paulding, Polk and Cleburne Counties.”
Honda Precision Parts of Georgia (HPPG) in Tallapoosa hired 79 workers in 2012, bringing its employee total to near 600. HPPG has been making transmissions here for shipment to Lincoln, Ala., and Ohio since 2006, said Boswell. HPPG located here after years of preparation and enticement by the HCDA, the Tallapoosa Development Authority and the City of Tallapoosa.
Chapman said that there are industries that locate here on their own, such as Custom Beverage Concepts of Tallapoosa and Bremen’s Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems LLC.
Chasing industry is not always successful, admitted Chapman and Boswell, such as the case of Lowe’s. The home improvement giant was courted vigorously for nearly two years, but finally said no to Haralson County in 2008.
“The Development Authority, the county and the state got aggressive with liberal inducements, but we could not agree on the final incentive package,” said Chapman. “We celebrate our successes and build on what we learn from our disappointments.”
“Could we take a more active role in attracting retail companies? Absolutely,” Chapman said. “We have just completed a county-wide strategic development plan. Through this research, we heard a lot about retail. In conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, we’re trying to figure out how we can play a more effective role in appealing to retail establishments.”
Boswell says retail opportunities are beginning to look encouraging.
“We really put Haralson County in front of prospects throughout the state,” Boswell said, “and consequently we had a substantial upsurge in requests for information (RFI) in 2012,” said Chapman.
In addition to Boswell, a 15-year volunteer, the HCDA Board of Directors includes Vice Chairman Danny Hutcheson, Karen Higgins of Buchanan, Treasurer Richard Davis, William “Pete” Bridges of Tallapoosa, Kenneth Smith of Bremen, and Jerry Lucky of Waco. Chapman is the board’s professional advisor. They meet monthly in the Bill Nunis Room of the Haralson County Chamber of Commerce in Waco.
Boswell and Chapman agreed that public input can be very valuable in the pursuit of new industrial and retail companies.
“If anyone has marketable land or buildings, please let us know,” said Chapman.
You may contact Chapman at 770-537-5266, or Boswell at 770-527-4157.