BELIEVE Greater Dalton

In August 2016, the community, led by the Greater Dalton Chamber, began a strategic planning process to help us understand what our community needs to focus on in order to continue being a thriving, growing, competitive community. The first step was asking our own citizens what they thought of their own community. 2,220 people responded by taking our survey. Then we compared ourselves to nine other communities of similar size in the Southeast to see how we stacked up against the communities we compete against.

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What we learned is that our overall business climate is best in class, which means our regulatory climate and tax structure are extremely competitive. We also learned that 62% of those earning more than $40,000 a year at a job in Whitfield County choose to live somewhere else. We wanted to know why. The answer is that if we want to be an attractive place to work AND live, we have a lot of work to do to improve the health of our overall economy, the vibrancy of our downtown, our housing options, educational outcomes, overall quality of life, and the support we provide to entrepreneurs.

We came up with six strategies we believe will help us become an attractive options for the 62% who work here, but don’t live here. We also believe these strategies will help be an attractive option for the folks our employers attract from all over the country.

Here are the six strategies that compose Believe Greater Dalton, our 5 year strategic plan:

1.       Create an Education Partnership to Align Greater Dalton’s Talent Pipeline

  • Based on the Strive model of collective impact
  •  Focused entirely on educational attainment & skill sets
  • Community based
  • Educational excellence is the most important factor in attracting young families

2.       Pursue a Competitive & Diverse Housing Stock

  • Building high-quality housing at competitive prices will drastically aid talent attraction & retention
  • A diverse range of housing will appeal to a broad audience
  • Encouraging workers to also live hear dramatically enhances local vitality
  • More appealing housing options increase local quality of place

3.       Establish Downtown Dalton as a Destination District

  • Young professionals and families expect downtown to be a destination
  • Increased vibrancy downtown enhances talent attraction and retention as well as quality of life and place
  • Downtown housing will increase vibrancy and help provide diverse housing options

4.       Sustain a Best-Practice Economic Development Program

  •  Focus on economic growth AND diversity
  • Must focus on industrial attraction, business retention, and support for entrepreneurs
  • New jobs increase the overall economy

5.       Create a Scalable Physical Hub for Entrepreneurship in Downtown Dalton

  • A physical location for entrepreneurs to interact and share ideas
  • Entrepreneur-specific business training
  • Opportunity to partner with Dalton State College & GNTC

6.       Launch a Campaign to Enhance Community Pride

  • Internal and external image and marketing campaign
  • Enhance ongoing economic development & CVB external marketing
  • Amplify and accelerate progress towards the other 5 initiatives
  • Engaging young professionals in this effort enhances talent attraction & retention

 

Timeline and Budget

We will reveal Believe Greater Dalton to the public at 5:30pm on October 17, 2017 at Dalton City Hall. Believe Greater Dalton will officially launch on January 1, 2018. It is a five year plan, so the official end date is December 31, 2023.

The budget for the entire project is $5.25 million dollars, and over $2.2 million of that total is money the public sector is already spending in the areas covered by the six strategies.

We’re asking the public sector to commit $3.28 million ($1 million more than the public sector is already spending) to the project, and we’re asking the private sector to commit $1.97 million.

 

Contact:

Rob Bradham
President & CEO
Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce
(706) 278-7373
bradham@daltonchamber.org