HALLmark completes first year

With one full year behind us, the HALLmark Initiative is on target, on budget and reports many successes.

The Gainesville and Hall County Economic Development Council is a partnership of the Greater Hall Chamber, City of Gainesville, Hall County and the cities of Flowery Branch and Oakwood. The council is working to attract new businesses and encourage the expansion of existing businesses. The location of Suntory/Crystal Springs Water in South Hall brought in our first technology company.

The formation of the Lake Lanier Technology Alliance, a core group of some 100 specialized “techies,” is networking and setting the stage for more technology recruitment. The recruitment efforts of this group are focusing on technology businesses, especially telecommunications and bio-technology companies. A specialized economic development, technology based website has been launched, and a technology marketing plan has been developed at www.siliconlakelanier.com.

Promotion continues for the support of infrastructure in South Hall County via the Lanier Wastewater & Technology Authority. The study of issues such as stormwater, airport, transportation, water quality, water quantity, impact fees and infrastructure continues by Chamber staff and volunteers – keeping businesses up-to-date on where we should focus our concerns and energy.

The City of Gainesville has passed Freeport Exemption to 100%, and we urge the Hall County Commission to raise their exemption to 80% by year end.

The $1.4 million new addition and renovation of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce building is on target to be completed in early 2003. The Governance Council is looking into developing “naming opportunities” in the form of brick pavers as part of the grand opening celebration.

Education is the key to the success of securing technology jobs for the area. The Chamber spearheaded the marketing efforts for the passage of the Education SPLOST. A partnership between the Hall County School System, Lanier Technical College and the businesses community led to the development of the new Lanier Career Center. This unique form of education will offer more choices and means for our students to acquire a high school degree and be prepared to enter the workforce. Due to open in 2004, all local industry will benefit from its success.

The HALLmark Initiative is “Reaching Greater Expectations” in community enhancement, in planned economic growth, education and workforce development.

Related Information http://www.siliconlakelanier.com