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Cook County, GA Economic Development Commission



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Community leadership spurs business growth

Local leaders have been very successful in meeting a goal of the 2030 Greater Cook County Comprehensive Plan, finding methods to capitalize on our strengths in order to draw new businesses into the community, while growing existing businesses.


“The result will be a diversification of our local economy. We will be better able to be a regional competitor, and we will be on a course of ensuring that community growth and development will benefit all segments of our population,” said Lisa Collins, executive director of the Cook County Economic Development Commission.


Cook Countyʼs unemployment rate appears to be at its lowest level in years. During the height of the Great Recession, which began in 2008, the rate soared higher than 14 percent. One out of every 10 Cook County working persons was unemployed. Cook County has seen employment growth as the result of the new Walmart Supercenter and other recent business and industrial development. As of September 2017, the local jobless rate was 4.3 percent, down from 5.4 percent a year ago.


In 2001, through a joint resolution between the Cook County Board of Commissioners, the City of Adel, and the Adel Industrial Development Authority, the Cook County Economic Development Commission (EDC) was formed. Why is this important? This act laid the groundwork for these entities to work together, at the same table, to promote economic development in Adel and Cook County. The Board of the EDC consists of two members from each of these three entities. These members are given the ability to speak on behalf of each of their respective bodies.


Therefore, when important decisions need to be made, all bodies affected are together at one table, and can make the decisions jointly. This has made a huge impact on what the City of Adel and Cook County have been able to accomplish in recent years.


“Needless to say, discussions around the table can be quite ʻlivelyʼ at times, but at the end of the day, a consensus is reached because the members understand the goal - To improve the economy of Cook County for all its citizens,” Ms. Collins said.


One opportunity identified in the Comprehensive Plan was Cook Countyʼs great location, on I-75, halfway between Atlanta and Orlando. The EDC enlisted the expert services of the Marketing Alliance Group, which helped develop an extensive community branding and marketing strategy. That effort produced the many dividends now being seen for the local economy and job market.


Cook Countyʼs economic development assets consist of location and leadership, as well as another asset - Land!


The Cook County EDC advertises more than 3,000 acres running parallel to I-75 with a Class I rail - Norfolk Southern, running north-south through the property. Three hundred-fifty (350) acres of that acreage is a Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD) site, and it is located within the city limits of Adel.


Adel City Manager John Flythe recently discussed the extension of water, sewer, natural gas, and electrical services to the 3,000-acre Industrial Megasite.


“This is an excellent industrial site because there are very few residences in the area,” Flythe said. “Several prospects have shown great interest in the site because of the size of the land and the proximity to transportation.


“An old adage that we say is, ʻThe best place to do business in Florida is South Georgia.ʼ ”


While dealing with some of these industrial prospects, it became evident that all utilities needed to be extended instead of waiting on immediate needs, according to the city manager. Engineering was completed, and roads were built and water/sewer was installed at the cost of $1,175,280. Subsequent to the first improvements, the City is installing gas extensions for this area at the cost of $185,000.


With the addition of Linde Corporation, the City is extending its line and installing a substation. “The future importance is that we now have a 230K KVA line that is substantial to serve other extremely large loads,” Flythe said.


The industry during the production process is expected to use half as much electrical power already generated by the City of Adel. The entire City of Adel consumes approximately 22 megawatts of power. This one customer would use 10-12 megawatts. They have an extremely high load factor and will be running an estimated 95 percent of the time.


The funding for the first phase of utilities extension to the Industrial Megasite was accomplished by an Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to the Adel Industrial Development Authority and the City of Adel. The City is handling funding for the balance of the expansion.


“We are open for business,” Flythe said. 

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