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CITY OF WOODSTOCK HONORS COUNCIL MEMBER WILLIAM EUGENE OGLETREE

Eugene Ogletree and Family Participated in Woodstock Black History Month Observance

 

WOODSTOCK, GA – At the February 26th meeting of Woodstock City Council, Mayor Michael Caldwell read a proclamation recognizing the contributions of William Eugene Ogletree, who was the first Black person to be elected to Woodstock City Council, in observance of Black History Month.

Eugene Ogletree was elected to Woodstock City Council in 1987 serving as the Council Member for Ward 3. Henry Bailey was the first Black person to serve on City Council when he was appointed to a vacant seat in 1975. When Eugene Ogletree was elected, Woodstock’s population was under 5,000 residents; Black and African American citizens made up one percent of the population. Today, over twelve percent of Woodstock’s residents are Black or African American.

In the proclamation, Mayor Caldwell stated, “Woodstock is the bold, collaborative, and authentic city we enjoy today because of contributions by its Black residents.” He recognized the contribution of the congregations of Mount Olive Baptist Church, Greater Bethel Church, and Allen Temple AME Church saying, “Woodstock’s Black history is an important part of the city’s story.”

Ogletree was joined at the meeting by his wife Rosa, his three daughters and their husbands, his grandchildren, and family friends who were happy to see him receive this recognition after a lifetime of service in the community. In addition to serving Woodstock as Council Member, Mr. Ogletree served on the Parks and Recreation Board, the Cherokee County Zoning Board of Appeals, the Cherokee County United Way Board of Directors, and the Cherokee County Municipal Association. During his time on City Council, Ogletree was a proponent of the development of parks and preservation of greenways, establishment of business associations, infrastructure improvements, and community events.

After reading the proclamation, Mayor Caldwell said to former Council Member Ogletree, “On behalf of Council and the nearly 40,000 people who call this city home now, thank you. When you were serving as Council Member, the city was forty-five hundred people. It almost ten times that size now. It’s because of the incredible leadership that you and your colleagues serving beside you showed that this place is what it is today.”

While a Woodstock Council Member, Eugene Ogletree was honored with proclamations from President Ronald Reagan and Georgia Governor Joe Frank Harris for his efforts against drug abuse. Speaking of the vision he and the City Council had for the economy, infrastructure, the arts, and outdoors in Woodstock, Eugene Ogletree said, “What you see in downtown Woodstock is a plan we put in action thirty years ago. We couldn’t do much because we had very few people so we couldn’t do the things that we wanted to do. I was a big part of the changes because I was a person who could see ahead of time and see what was going on.”

As part of the proclamation, Mayor Caldwell declared Monday, February 26th, 2024, William Eugene Ogletree Day in the City of Woodstock in thanks for Council Member Ogletree’s leadership and contributions to Woodstock’s community.  


To learn more about the City of Woodstock, visit woodstockga.gov.

About City of Woodstock, GA: Located just 30 miles north of Atlanta, Woodstock’s City limits include more than 12 square miles and over 35,000 residents. Woodstock is a Georgia PlanFirst Community and a recipient of Georgia Municipal Association’s Live Work Play City Award.

Pickens High School receives honors in both AP STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Achievement and AP STEM.

On February 27, 2024, State School Superintendent Richard Woods named Advanced Placement (AP) Honor Schools from 99 school districts for 2024.

State School Superintendent Richard Woods says, “I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the 2024 AP Honor Schools. I commend them for their hard work to build strong Advanced Placement programs and, as a result, provide high-quality opportunities for Georgia students. Additionally, I am thrilled that the number of AP Honor Schools and school districts continues to rise each year – a testament to the commitment of Georgia public education to expand opportunities for all Georgia students."

The 2024 AP Honor Schools are named in eight categories based on the results of 2023 AP courses and exams.

Pickens High School received honors in both AP STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Achievement and AP STEM.

Requirements for honor in AP STEM Schools include a minimum of five students testing in at least four AP STEM courses, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics 1, AP Physics 2, AP Physics C, AP Computer Science A, AP Computer Science Principles, and a minimum of 25 exams administered. Additionally, to be honored as an AP STEM Achievement Schools, you must meet the above definition and have at least 50% of all AP STEM exams earning scores of 3 or higher. ?

"We are very proud of our teachers and our students,” said Dr. Travis Thomas, superintendent of Pickens County Schools. “Not only are we offering these rigorous AP classes to help prepare our high school students for college, but with the AP STEM Achievement distinction, a majority of our students are also scoring well enough on these incredibly difficult AP exams to earn college credit. This is a recognition that less than 25% of all Georgia public high schools earn. Way to go, Dragons!"

AP exams are administered by the College Board, which also administers the SAT. AP courses are one of several ways Georgia students can access college-level learning at the high school level; students who receive a 3, 4, or 5 on an AP exam may receive college credit. The Georgia Department of Education began recognizing AP Honor Schools in 2008.

Golden Egg-streme Easter Event

A senior citizen Easter Egg Hunt and Hat Decorating celebration. 

WOODSTOCK, GA (February 26, 2024)

The William G. Long Senior Center, in coordination with The Bonnie Dobbs Agency-Insurance and Other Red Tape, is excited to announce their inaugural Golden Egg-streme Easter event. The celebration will take place on March 29, 2024, at Dupree Park in Woodstock, Georgia, from 12:00 noon through 2:00 p.m. for registered members. You are welcome to cover this event as a positive holiday piece specifically for our senior community members. It is going to be fun and highly entertaining.

The Woodstock Senior Center has invited thirty (30) members from the Cherokee County Senior Services to join their thirty (30) members to participate with them in an interactive Easter celebration on Good Friday. This is the first time the two centers have collaborated on a special event in several years.

The Golden Egg-streme Easter event will begin at noon with a D.J. spinning upbeat music while a professional singer leads the group in Easter sing-a-longs. A unique Easter egg hunt will ensue as each registered participant must pick up a

variety of candy, and prize-filled, eggs with long-handled grabbers. This is going to be funny! Several Easter Bunnies will be hopping around to assist seniors in collecting eggs.

A dandy decorated Easter bonnet and tie contest will keep volunteer judges giggling throughout the event. Boxed lunches will be served to the sixty (60) participants and twenty (20) volunteers.

EVENT DETAILS:

  • Golden Egg-streme Easter Event*
  • Good Friday, March 29 12:00–2:00 p.m.
  • Dupree Park, 513 Neese Road, Woodstock, GA 30188

*Registration Required. For more registration information visit www.woodstockparksandrec.com

Meals on Wheels Volunteer Nora Fett Honored for Lifesaving Efforts

PRESS RELEASE

BALL GROUND, GA (Feb. 21, 2024) – A Cherokee County Senior Services volunteer was recently honored before the Board of Commissioners for her lifesaving efforts while serving with Meals on Wheels.

At the Feb. 20 Board of Commissioners meeting, Nora Fett, a volunteer with the Meals on Wheels program, was presented with a service award by representatives from Cherokee County Senior Services.

“We’re presenting Nora with this award to say thank you for her many years of service and for always going above and beyond to care for our seniors,” said Cherokee County Senior Services Director Tim Morris.

While delivering meals on Dec. 6, Fett became concerned when one of her clients didn’t come to the door. Sensing something was off, Fett circled back to the home after making another delivery in an attempt to contact the client. After repeated unanswered knocks at the door, Fett located a spare key that she had previously been given permission to use and entered the home. Fett found the client unresponsive and called 911. The client had suffered a medical emergency and was transported to the hospital where they were treated and released.

“It’s worth noting that this client is part of the Cherokee Sheriff’s Offices’ RUOK program and had received a phone call early that morning checking in and a Senior Services staff member had also spoken with the client that morning around 11:00 a.m.,” said Home Delivered Meals Supervisor Brittany Kiser. “Nora showed up to deliver meals between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. and if she had not gone in, there is no telling how long this client would have laid there unconscious or what the end result might have been.”

Fett has volunteered with Cherokee County Senior Services’ Meals on Wheels program since May of 2001, making her the longest volunteer in the program. Despite no longer living in the county, Fett continues to commute each week from Cartersville to make deliveries in Ball Ground.

For more information on the RUOK program visit sheriff.cherokeecountyga.gov/RUOK.php and for information on the Meals on Wheel program call 770-345-5320.

Donations Sought for Some Bunny Special Program

PRESS RELEASE

CHEROKEE COUNTY, GA (Feb. 22, 2024) – Ahead of the Easter holiday, Cherokee Recreation and Parks is asking for donations of pre-filled Easter baskets for local children in need.

“As part of our Some Bunny Special Program, we reach out to the community each year to ask for assistance in helping the Easter Bunny gift baskets to these local kids in need,” said Cherokee Recreation and Parks Marketing and Community Outreach Coordinator Jessica Hallman.

Requested items for the baskets include Easter-themed candy, coloring books, crayons, colored pencils, socks, puzzles, stuffed animals, toy Easter Eggs and Easter themed books for children ages 1 through 12. Donations of handmade or purchased baskets are welcome, and pre-filled baskets may be wrapped in clear plastic.

Cherokee Recreation and Parks will accept the baskets starting Monday, February 26, through Sunday, March 24. Baskets can be dropped off at the Cherokee Recreation and Parks South Annex location at 7545 Main Street, Building 200 in Woodstock, the Cherokee County Aquatic Center located at 1200 Wellstar Way in Canton and the L.B. “Buzz” Ahrens Recreation Center located at 7345 Cumming Highway in Canton. Drop off times are Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. All candy must be sealed in its original packaging and baskets are to be pre-filled before drop-off.

The program, which has been in effect for twelve years, serves on average more than 500 children through partnerships with several local non-profit organizations.

“This year, we will be partnering with the Children’s Haven to bring Easter baskets to local children in the foster care system,” said Cherokee Recreation and Parks Director Jay Worley. “It is humbling to see how the community rises to the occasion each year to bring Easter to these kids.”

For additional information about the Some Bunny Special program visit PlayCherokee.org or contact Cherokee Recreation and Parks at 770-924-7768.

Commissioners approve concept plan for future Hickory Flat Area Park

(FEB. 21, 2024) -- Conceptual plans for the future Hickory Flat Area Park were debuted Tuesday night, receiving approval by the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners.

The County purchased about 40 acres in April 2022 for the future park and engaged Lose Design to prepare a concept plan. County officials and Lose Design held three public input meetings and online public engagement during the process, yielding feedback from area residents.

During the Feb. 20 work session, Aaron St. Pierre, of Lose Design, presented the plan to Board of Commissioners, highlighting features and expected development costs.

“I love the conceptual plan,” said District 2 Commissioner Richard Weatherby, who represents the Hickory Flat Area. “I’m especially impressed with the multi-purpose fields planned, which gives us the flexibility to play different sports, and the ADA-compliant walking trails to give everyone in the community a place to get out and exercise. I’m proud to have been able to spearhead this land purchase nearly two years ago and to bring these future recreational opportunities to the residents of Hickory Flat.”

The concept plan for the park, located on East Cherokee Drive in the heart of Hickory Flat, shows plans for an open lawn area, recreation center, concessions and restroom building, a multi-purpose field complex, a paved trail network, dog park, playground, interactive fountain, community garden and 12 pickleball courts with spectator seating.

Plans for the recreation center show a gymnasium, indoor walking track, fitness center, classrooms, meeting rooms and administrative offices. The dog park is expected to feature shaded structures, bench seating and a water fountain with a dog water bowl. The open lawn is a place for families and friends to gather for picnics and enjoy each other’s company. It will also feature a playground, pavilions, splash pad, ADA loop trail and a restroom building. 

The multi-purpose field complex is expected to feature two 300-foot baseball diamonds, four 215-foot baseball diamonds, two rectangular sports fields, pavilions and restrooms.

The project will be phased in in three segments with a total expected cost of $43.3 million. The first phase is estimated at $15.9 million, the second phase at $9.7 million, and the third phase at $17.8 million. The next steps for the project include identifying funding and establishing a development timeline. 

Highlights from Feb. 20 BOC meeting

(FEB. 23, 2024) -- A multi-jurisdictional effort to alleviate traffic congestion and bring quality commercial development to a parcel at the southeast corner of I-575 and Sixes Road is moving forward.

The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners approved, 5-0, an agreement with Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. for the I-575 and Sixes Road Interchange Area Transportation Plan. District 3 Commissioner Benny Carter made the motion, which was seconded by District 1 Commissioner Steve West.

The total cost for the plan is $255,105 and is being jointly paid for by the county and the cities of Woodstock and Holly Springs. The county’s 60 percent share is being covered by impact fees and Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds.

The study is expected to begin in March and should take about 15 months to complete.

In early 2023, the three jurisdictions came together to plan for future development for the nearly 100 acres located in the southeast quadrant of the interchange that are prime for strong commercial and employment nodes for the community but lack accessibility. The land is divided among the two cities and the county jurisdictions, and all three governmental entities’ comprehensive land use plans show the parcels as regional center/employment.

Instead of piecemeal development, city and county leaders want to take a collaborative look and plan together to ensure quality development of the area and lessen the impact of traffic congestion.

County purchases former Buffington School site

The Board also unanimously approved purchasing the former Buffington Elementary School site from the Cherokee County School District for $1.2 million. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by District 2 Commissioner Richard Weatherby.

The 9.8-acre site paired with the adjacent nearly 3.2-acre site the county already owns is slated to house a replacement for Fire Station 29 and possibly a future site for the Fire Safety and Education Village and Fire & Emergency Services Headquarters.

During the work session discussion Tuesday, Chairman Harry Johnston confirmed with fire officials that the county’s intention is to preserve the original building and its historic look.

In other business, the Board of Commissioners:

  • Proclaimed Feb. 23, 2024 as Rotary Day in Cherokee County in recognition of Rotary’s 119th birthday. Members of the Towne Lake and Canton clubs were present to accept the proclamations.
  • Approved, 5-0, a resolution that memorializes the Board of Commissioners’ intention to coordinate and distribute HOST capital funds to the county’s participating municipalities should the measure be approved by voters in November. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by District 4 Commissioner Corey Ragsdale.
  • Approved, 4-0-1, the minutes from the Feb. 6 work session, executive session and regular meeting. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter. Commissioner Ragsdale abstained, as he was absent from the Feb. 6 meeting due to medical reasons.
  • Held a public hearing to consider transmittal of a local amendment to the Georgia State Minimum Standard Plumbing Code to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for review and comment. No one spoke at the public hearing. Commissioner Carter made the motion to approve transmitting the amendment to DCA, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.
  • Held a public hearing to consider changes to the code of ordinances to support code compliance. The goals are to improve and clarify language, eliminate loopholes and conflicting provisions, focus on common issues Code Compliance experiences, reduce signs that distract drivers and look for sign opportunities to support local business. No one spoke. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion to approve the changes, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter. The vote was 5-0.
  • Held a public hearing on zoning ordinance changes related to mobile units and transportation equipment. No one spoke. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter. The vote was 5-0.
  • Held a public hearing to consider a request by Jason Fritz for a private helipad on property he owns on East Cherokee Drive. Several neighbors spoke against the measure, while two spoke in favor. Neighbors cited safety, security and noise as reasons to deny the application. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion to deny, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter. The vote was 5-0.
  • Tabled, 5-0, AOA Properties’ request to rezone 42.49 acres from AG, R-80 and R-20 OI for a church. The case is expected to be heard at the March 19 meeting. Commissioner West made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.
  • Approved, 5-0, Robert Kriz’s request for a Special Use Permit for a climate-controlled self-storage facility at Wade Green Road and Highway 92, with an entrance off Wade Green Road. The applicant also is requesting a variance to eliminate a required decel lane and a required 30-foot buffer from Wade Green Road and including the driveway on the east side of the building. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 5-0, the consent agenda, which included: acting as the fiscal agent on behalf of Cherokee FOCUS for their annual Department of Human Services grant in the amount of $52,000 for the state FY term; a grant agreement in the amount of $3,259.50 for a summer intern for the Planning & Zoning Department to provide a Housing Stock Analysis Plan and authorized a budget amendment totaling $3,260; the first amendment of a tri-party agreement for public library services between the Sequoyah Regional Library System, Reinhardt University and Cherokee County; and a resolution endorsing the city of Woodstock ARC Community Development Assistance Program application. Commissioner West made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.
  • Approved, 5-0, renewal of the Network Cybersecurity Operations Center agreement in the amount of $73,644 at the request of the IT Services Department. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 5-0, the purchase of wireless access points for the Bluffs Administration Building in the amount of $26,728 at the request of the IT Services Department. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 5-0, the approval of the 2023 post-audit budget amendment in the total amount of $11.16 million. This is an annual housekeeping measure, and the county is legally required to true up the budget each year. The approval included savings of reserves to the Conference Center of $214,215 and use of reserves for the Senior Center, Recreation and Parks, Impact Fees, SPLOST, Fleet and various other funds of $4.49 million. Other expenses are covered by unbudgeted revenue totaling $6.8 million. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.
  • Approved, 5-0, adopting the proposed conceptual plan for the future 40-acre Hickory Flat area park at 3552 East Cherokee Drive and an amendment to the Cherokee County Recreation, Parks Green Space and Trails Master Plan to include this plan. Funding has yet to be identified for the project. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 5-0, a resolution designating the name of a future park in southwest Cherokee County as Woodworth Park. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 5-0, the purchase of 20 Dell laptop computers and accessories using State of Georgia contract pricing from Dell Computer in the total amount of $73,407.20 for Fire & Emergency Services. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 5-0, year six pricing with Bennett Fire Products for the purchase of firefighting turnout gear for Fire & Emergency Services through Dec. 31, 2024. The cost per Globe jacket is $1,763 and per Globe trouser and suspender is $1,479.75 for a total cost of $3,243.27 per set. The request is from Fire & Emergency Services. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 5-0, an agreement with TK Elevator Corporation to bring into compliance the DLM – Door Lock Monitoring systems for elevators at multiple locations throughout the county. County Manager Geoff Morton told the Board the requirement is a new unfunded state mandate. The total cost is $99,780. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.
  • Approved, 5-0, purchasing equipment to upfit 29 Police Interceptor vehicles from West Chatham in the total amount of $405,150.70 at the request of the Sheriff’s Office. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner West.
  • Approved, 5-0, purchasing one Ford F-150 at a not-to-exceed amount of $37,000, one Ford Explorer 2WD at a not-to-exceed cost of $40,000, and one Ford Bronco Sport at a not-to-exceed cost of $33,000 for the Recreation and Parks department. An automobile dealer has not yet been identified. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 5-0, a resolution to apply for an ARC Livable Centers Initiative grant to update the Bells Ferry LCI Corridor. The county is requesting for $240,000. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 5-0, executing a quit claim deed transferring ownership of Park Village Property consisting of 71.87 acres to the Development Authority of Cherokee County to be used for marketing future economic development opportunities. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 5-0, a resolution adopting tax levy related to the Cherokee County School District’s issuance of General Obligation Bonds. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner West.

GUNS & HOSES RACE RECAP

PRESS RELEASE

Canton, GA (Feb. 14, 2024) – Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services and the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office raised over $8,600 for local non-profits at the 18th annual Guns and Hoses 5K Run/Walk.

The race was held at Hobgood Park on Feb. 10 and drew 719 participants. The two agencies compete with one another for race registrations. The Hoses team had 448 registrations while the Guns team had 271 registrations, making the Hoses team this year’s winner.

“We have something in Cherokee County that not every community has and that’s great citizen support for our public safety officials,” said Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds. “I want to thank everyone for the continued support and for their participation in this cause.”

The purpose of the race is to raise money for charity causes selected by both groups, Guns and Hoses. Gold level race sponsors included Northside Hospital CherokeeChloe’s Auto Repair and Tire, and Renasant Bank.

The Hoses team raised $5,376 for The Goshen Valley Boys Ranch, a non-profit home serving young men in the state foster care system and the Guns team raised $3,252 for the Charlie Ferguson Community Center which provides after-school programs, senior activities, events and other functions.

“This event not only provides the fire department with a great opportunity to support Goshen Valley, but it also gives us a chance to fellowship with our brothers and sisters from the Sheriff’s Office,” said Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services Chief Eddie Robinson. “Both agencies are proud to work together to provide the outstanding level of public safety that we are fortunate to have in Cherokee County.”

Race winners included Overall Male winner is Austin Brice with a time of 17:39.5 and Overall Female winner Abigail Lawley with a time of 22:25.6.

ABOUT CHEROKEE COUNTY

Located 30 miles north of downtown Atlanta, Cherokee County is part of the 11-county metro-Atlanta area. Cherokee County boasts a population of more than 281,000, according to the July 2022 Census estimates. It is the one of the fastest growing counties in the metro region and its overall Board of Commissioners-controlled tax burden per capita is one of the lowest in the region. Cherokee County has
award-winning parks and recreational facilities, is a destination for corporate headquarters and is a great place to live, work and play. Cherokee County is the best of both worlds because it’s where “Metro Meets the Mountains.” Learn more at cherokeega.com.

CATS Launches Micro-Transit, Rebrands

PRESS RELEASE

Cherokee County (Feb. 13, 2024) -- Cherokee Area Transit Service (CATS) has undergone changes including a more efficient service for riders, a new look and an updated name.

A soft rollout of the new micro-transit service pilot program began in January with full launch set for Feb. 15.

“This is a new, more modern approach to public transportation,” said Transit Director Greg Powell. “The traditional fixed route system is being replaced with micro-transit, which translates to shorter wait times and a larger service area for our riders. While this is a pilot program to replace the former fixed route system in Canton, the plan is to further expand micro-transit to other areas of the county in the future.”

Previously, CATS offered Fixed Route and Demand Response services. Fixed Route ran on a standard schedule, while Demand Response allowed for CATS riders to schedule their ride ahead of time.

The current micro-transit service area expanded on the area previously served by the former Canton fixed routes. It is generally in the Canton area with the northernmost point being the Chattahoochee Tech campus on Bluffs Parkway extending south to the Holly Springs Walmart at Exit 14. It stretches from the Canton Marketplace shopping center to Knox Elementary on Highway 20 west of Canton. The service area includes downtown Canton, the Laurel Canyon Village shopping center on Reinhardt College Parkway, the Riverstone Parkway area, Northside Hospital Cherokee, Empower Cherokee, the Cherokee County Senior Center, the Cherokee County Health Department and the Cherokee County DFCS office on Univeter Road.

Fares will remain unchanged from the October 2023 update. General fare is $2 per person for 0-5 miles and an additional $1 for more than 5 miles. Reduced fares, which apply to seniors age 60 and over, veterans and Medicare/Medicaid cardholders, are $1 per person per trip for up to 5 miles and an additional $1 for anything over 5 miles. Children 15 and under are free.

Cherokee County partnered with Ecolane USA in September to purchase the software for both micro-transit and Demand Response, which services all of Cherokee County. The CATS micro-transit app operates much like private rideshare company models but for public transit systems. The Board of Commissioners approved the purchase totaling $487,058 over five years. The Federal Transit Authority pays 80 percent, and the county pays 20 percent for the first year. For the following four years, the cost is split 50-50.

Micro-transit not only streamlines the process for riders, it gives them access to the GPS location of their bus, meaning they will be less likely to miss their ride. Trip reminder notifications will also provide a friendly nudge for people to cancel their ride if they no longer need it. Additionally, residents can schedule their rides even if the CATS dispatch office is closed for the day.

Residents can begin downloading the app from the App Store and Google Play store. Simply search Cherokee Area Transit Service.

In addition to the launch of micro-transit, CATS is getting a new look and an updated name to reflect the operation better. The county bid the rebranding project and selected low-bidder M3 Agency for $3,495.

“We felt CATS needed a new name and look that represents what they do,” said Community Services Agency Director Bryan Reynolds. “We made it a point to keep the beloved cat, but the new artwork modernizes the logo. For many years, CATS has commonly been confused with the transportation department that does roadwork, so the new name of Cherokee Area Transit Service better reflects the work the CATS team does well daily.”

Over the next several months, riders will begin to see the new look on the CATS fleet and signage.

For questions or more information, call (770) 345-6238 Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Carrollton Jazz Orchestra "Swings"

PRESS RELEASE

Waleska, GA (February 12, 2024) – The “big band” sound comes alive at Falany Performing Arts Center on March 15 at 7:30 p.m. with the Carollton Jazz Orchestra.

The Carrollton Jazz Orchestra is a 20-piece ensemble that specializes in “big band” instrumentation with saxophone, trombone, trumpet, and rhythm sections. Reeds, brass, and percussion round out the group.

Concerts feature the sounds of jazz greats like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Sammy Nestico, Mel Lewis, Buddy Rich and Chick Corea.

“’Get ready for a powerful evening of jazz with these talented musicians,” said Jessica Akers, director of the Falany Performing Arts Center. “You’ll be swinging and swaying in your seats.”

Members of the Carrollton Jazz Orchestra come from diverse backgrounds and have performed in various ensembles and settings. The group is based in the Center for the Arts in Carrollton, Ga.

Tickets are $25 to $30 for adults, $20 to $25 for seniors and $10 for children 12 and younger.  They can be purchased at Reinhardt.edu/fpac or by calling the box office at 770-720-9167.

ABOUT THE FALANY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

The Falany Performing Arts Center is a world-class facility overlooking Lake Mullenix on the beautiful campus of Reinhardt University in Waleska. With Flint Hall, an impressive concert hall, and the beautiful marble Ken White Atrium, this concert venue is one of a kind. Since its first year in the performing arts, guests have commented on their wonderful experiences with the convenient free parking, meet-and-greet with artists, and intimate performances.  The Falany Performing Arts Center has hosted a variety of events, from theatrical productions, chamber groups, student productions and recitals, and popular ensembles such as the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. The main attraction of this concert hall is its state-of-the-art acoustic and tunable stage. Known as one of the best concert halls in the Southeast, musicians, theatre groups, and guest speakers have enjoyed the quality sound the concert hall provides.

ABOUT REINHARDT UNIVERSITY

Founded in 1883, Reinhardt University is a private, comprehensive institution grounded in the liberal arts. Reinhardt offers more than 40?graduate and undergraduate programs online and on campus, including business, education, music, theater, and nursing. Reinhardt’s 525-acre campus is ideally located in?Waleska?in the heart of Georgia’s high country and nearby the great international city of Atlanta. For more information, please contact Reinhardt at (770) 720-5600 or see Reinhardt.edu.

Inaugural Cherokee By Choice Ambassadors Announced

PRESS RELEASE

Woodstock, GA (Feb. 12, 2024)  The Cherokee Office of Economic Development (COED) welcomed their inaugural group of Cherokee By Choice (CBC) Ambassadors last week.

2024 CBC Ambassadors include Courtney Howard of Black Airplane, Barbara Corey of Wellstar Health System, Linda Coyle of Bank of America, Naceo Denney of Georgia Power Company, Will England of Cherokee County Water & Sewer Authority, Katie Pearson of Northside Hospital Cherokee, Gabe Hrib, Jr. of Cobb Industrial Inc., Zach Blend of Goshen Valley, Jonathon Chambers of Reformation Brewery, Lee Oliver of Thrive Coworking Canton/The Mill on Etowah, Amanda Rostin of Lead Edge Design, Holden Wilbanks of N.J. Wilbanks Contractor, Steve Divine of Advanced Systems Atlanta, Rick Rowland of United Community Bank, Lewis Cline of Synovus, Bill Doran of Doran Commercial Real Estate, Kayla Hall of The Board & Box Charcuterie, Emily Hardigree of The Good Group, Ashley Rowe of LGE Community Credit Union and Miranda Young of North Georgia Staffing.

CBC Ambassadors are thoughtfully selected individuals who will be champions of the work COED is doing through Cherokee By Choice, Inc. to further economic development in the community.

COED aims to engage passionate CBC Investors in promoting and supporting sustainable economic growth, innovation and community development. 2024 CBC Ambassadors will act as advocates for economic advancement, fostering collaboration between local businesses, government agencies and community members to create a thriving and inclusive economy.

CBC Ambassadors will serve a one-year term during which they will immerse themselves in economic development as a whole and how it impacts Cherokee County – beginning with an Economic Development 101 Certificate Course.

Alongside familiarizing themselves with economic development, CBC Ambassadors will engage with COED initiatives and events, including the 2024 Cherokee Film Summit, Be Pro Be Proud Georgia, the Cherokee Career Expo, Fresh Start Cherokee, New & Existing Industry interactions, CBC investor involvement and more.

Cherokee By Choice, Inc. is a non-profit organization created by COED to enhance economic development initiatives and strategies within Cherokee County and beyond. The CBC 2.0 Strategic Plan seeks to create community wealth through attracting, retaining and aligning talent; growing innovative business, investment and jobs; and developing infrastructure and product.

COED is excited to welcome their inaugural CBC Ambassadors for their 2024 term. Learn more about getting involved with CBC and COED’s initiatives at cherokeega.org.

Highlights from Feb. 6 Board of Commissioners Meeting

PRESS RELEASE

 

Cherokee County (Feb. 9, 2024) -- The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners took action Tuesday night on a packed-full agenda that includes traffic signal installation at a busy Bells Ferry Road intersection, a turn-lane extension to alleviate traffic congestion, a resolution asking the General Assembly to place a referendum for a Homestead Option Sales Tax (HOST) on the November ballot and a resolution to increase the hotel/motel tax in unincorporated Cherokee County.

Traffic signal for Steels Bridge Road and Bells Ferry Road, turn-lane extension at Bells Ferry Road and Towne Lake Parkway approved

The Board approved two items to aid traffic flow and safety improvements to sections of Bells Ferry Road. As part of the consent agenda, an amendment to an existing agreement with Keck & Wood, Inc. was approved, 4-0, to perform professional engineering services for traffic signal installation at Bells Ferry Road and Steels Bridge Road. County Manager Geoff Morton told the Board that a traffic warrant study had been performed and showed a need for signalization at the intersection. Engineering and installation of the signal is expected to be completed in six to eight months. The cost for the engineering portion of the project is $22,650.

The Board also approved extending the right-turn lane from Bells Ferry Road to Towne Lake Parkway ahead of the Georgia Department of Transportation’s planned widening of Bell Ferry Road, which is slated for delay due to rising construction costs. The Board approved, 4-0, an amendment to an existing construction agreement with Baldwin Paving to extend the right-turn lane to help improve traffic flow during peak hours. The cost to extend the turn lane is $181,575.30. District 2 Commissioner Richard Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by District 3 Commissioner Benny Carter. District 4 Commissioner Corey Ragsdale was absent for medical reasons. 

Hotel/Motel Tax resolution moving to local Delegation

A resolution to increase the hotel/motel excise tax for unincorporated Cherokee County from 6 percent to 8 percent is moving to the local Legislative Delegation for consideration. The Board of Commissioners approved, 4-0, transmitting the resolution requesting that the Delegation create local legislation for adoption by the Georgia General Assembly. District 1 Commissioner Steve West made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.

If approved by the General Assembly as local legislation, the change brings Cherokee County in line with other jurisdictions like Woodstock, Canton, Alpharetta, Roswell, Cobb County and Bartow County, all of which are at 8 percent.

The hotel/motel tax partially funds the Northside Cherokee Conference Center at the Bluffs and also is utilized by the Chamber of Commerce and Office of Economic Development. The intention of increasing the hotel/motel tax in unincorporated Cherokee County, which is paid by visitors staying in local hotels, motels and short-term rentals, is to further support these organizations and add others like History Cherokee, as well as fund a wayfinding signs project, beautification projects on interstates or key intersections, and possibly provide additional funding for recreation and parks operations. Increasing the rate from 6 percent to 8 percent is expected to bring in an additional $200,000 a year. In 2023, revenue from the hotel/motel tax was $644,215.

HOST slated for November ballot, if approved by General Assembly

The Board approved, 4-0, a resolution asking the General Assembly to put a referendum on the ballot in November to ask voters for a 1 percent Homestead Local Option Sales Tax to offset the county M&O portion of property tax bills and help fund transportation improvements. Commissioner West made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.

The request comes after a series of town hall meetings where Chairman Harry Johnston presented several options: a HOST, a LOST (Local Option Sales Tax), a T-SPLOST (Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) or none of the above. Cherokee County is one of three counties in Georgia without a sales tax to offset property taxes – Cobb and Gwinnett are the other two.

Over the course of the seven meetings, 89 residents preferred HOST, 24 preferred T-SPLOST, eight said they wanted the county to keep the sales tax as it is, five wanted a HOST/T-SPLOST combination, and one voted for the LOST.

A HOST would offset property taxes for homesteaded properties. According to the Tax Assessor’s Office, 59,926 of 110,148 taxable properties currently have the homestead exemption. The assessor’s office is unable to determine how many of the remaining would qualify for the exemption, but residents who own their home and use it as their primary residence are eligible to file for the exemption. Applications are due to the Tax Assessor’s Office prior to April 1 every year. County leadership projects that a HOST will fully eliminate the county M&O property tax for homeowners with the homestead exemption, reduce the county M&O property tax by about 39 percent for other types of property and provide an increase of almost 25 percent in the county’s average annual road improvement budget.

During the Feb. 6 meeting, the Board also:

  • Recognized Coroner Sally Sims for National Coroner Appreciation Week. The Board issued a proclamation Jan. 16, but Sims could not attend. The Board wanted to recognize Coroner Sims and her team publicly for their work.
  • Approved, 4-0, meeting minutes from the Jan. 16 work session, regular session and executive session, and the Jan. 25-26 special called meeting (annual planning retreat). Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Tabled, 4-0, Next Step Ministries request to modify zoning conditions to allow for a larger facility. The case is expected to be heard at the March 5 meeting. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner West.
  • Tabled, 4-0, AOA Properties’ request to rezone 42.59 acres at 7716 Cumming Highway from Agriculture, R-80 and R-20 to Office/Institutional for a church. The applicant is meeting with neighbors of the property. The case is expected to be heard at the Feb. 20 meeting. Commissioner West made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.
  • Tabled, 4-0, Robert Kriz’s request for a Special Use Permit for a climate-controlled self-storage facility at Wade Green Road and Highway 92, with an entrance off Wade Green Road. The applicant also is requesting a variance to eliminate a required decel lane and a required 30-foot buffer from Wade Green Road and including the driveway on the east side of the building showed on the Oct. 3, 2023 concept plan. Commissioner West made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter. The case is expected to be heard at the Feb. 20 meeting.
  • Approved, 4-0, notifying the city of Woodstock that the county does not object to a 6.1-acre annexation that is requested to be rezoned from R-40 to R-4, but is asking the city to consider a less dense zoning classification that is more in line with the city’s Future Land Use Plan. The area is within the Growth Boundary Agreement. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.
  • Approved, 4-0, the consent agenda, which included: reallocation of CDBG funds and submission of a corresponding update of the 2022 CDBG Annual Action Plan to HUD; a resolution to waive the alcohol license residency requirement for Juan Fernando Mata, Mata Family LLC dba Tequila Mexican Restaurant; donation of 323 square feet of right of way and 2,252 square feet of temporary construction easement from county-owned property at 155 Towne Lake Parkway for construction of the Towne Lake Parkway widening project by the city of Woodstock; a resolution to change the name of a portion of an existing public roadway from West Pine Ridge Drive to Buice Avenue; a resolution accepting a donation from Great American Greens Inc. for material and labor to install a putting green at Fire Station #32 at no cost to the county; updating and renewing the Statewide Mutual Aid Agreement for local jurisdictions, as required by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security every four years; authorizing EMA to apply for federal grant funds in order to complete the required 2024 Local Hazard Mitigation Plan; amendment one to the Atlanta Regional Commission contract with Senior Services to provide additional state funds in the amount of $77,394.82 (new contract value $1.3 million); renewing the Probation Service agreement to allow the Public Services Agency to provide probation services for State Court for five years; renewing the Probation Services agreement to allow the Public Services Agency to provide probation services to Magistrate Court for five years; amendment three to the agreement with American Engineers, Inc. for the Dupree Road and King Arthur Drive Drainage Improvements project design to include additional intersection modifications design and revised drainage design for the intersection of Dupree Road and Village Green Avenue in the amount of $15,250; and calling for a public hearing on March 19 to consider text amendments to Article 18 – Amendments and Zoning Procedures of the Cherokee County Zoning Ordinance. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner West.
  • Approved, 4-0, the award of a professional services agreement for the Woodstock Trailhead and Spur Trail Project to the highest scoring proposals, Axis Infrastructure, LLC in the amount of $391,925. This is a joint project with the city and county, with the county designing the project and the city building it. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.
  • Approved, 4-0, the renewal of the annual service and maintenance agreement with Motorola Solutions for E 9-1-1’s VESTA system. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner West.
  • Approved, 4-0, a standard construction services agreement to low-bidder Stryker Contracting in the amount of $35,809 with a 20 percent county-controlled contingency to construct a turnout gear room at Fire Station 20. New stations are built with turnout gear rooms as a way to mitigate bringing carcinogens into the living quarters. Cherokee Fire & Emergency Services is working to retrofit older stations to include turnout gear rooms. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 4-0, an agreement with Page Relocation, LLC for the secure transportation of the county’s election equipment during the 2024 election cycle. The total cost is $92,254. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 4-0, an agreement with Indoff, LLC for the purchase of office furniture for the new Probation Services Office at 400 E. Main St. The cost is $130,568 and is being paid for with ARPA funds. Commissioner West made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.
  • Approved, 4-0, the purchase of one new or used 2023/2024 Ford Explorer at a price of not to exceed $47,000 for the General Services Agency. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner West.
  • Approved, 4-0, the purchase of a software platform agreement with Peregrine for the Sheriff’s Office for the initial cost of $100,000 with subsequent costs of $218,750 annually for the next four years. The total cost is $975,000. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner West.
  • Approved, 4-0, a professional services agreement with Rindt., Inc. for landfill compliance monitoring at the Blalock Road Landfill in the amount not to exceed $166,564. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.
  • Approved, 4-0, a resolution to establish and set fees for Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services to provide Fire and EMS support at special community events. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 4-0, minor modifications and corrections to the Cherokee County Procurement Ordinance that changes the DBE liaison from the Public Works Agency Director to the Community Development Agency Director. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner West.
  • Approved, 4-0, a new standard contract form for minor construction, trades, and repairs for the Procurement Department. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 4-0, an agreement with HESCO for repairs to the Aquatic Center HVAC – Poolpak system in the amount of $94,996. SPLOST funds are being used to pay for the project. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.
  • Approved, 4-0, a settlement agreement between Hazel Creek Properties LLC and Cherokee County of a parcel located at 3202 Hickory Flat Hwy., from R-40 to OI and NC with conditions. Commissioner West made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter. The public hearing was held Nov. 21. After approving the settlement agreement, the Board approved, 4-0, rezoning the property from R-40 to OI and NC with 13 conditions that include a list of more than 20 prohibited uses, lighting requirements, limitation of hours of operation, deliveries and garbage pickup to 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., prohibition of loud speakers, a buffer that must be created and approved prior to the issue of a Land Disturbance Permit and maintained through construction, architectural design requirements of a residential look, a floor ratio limit, no access onto Brick Mill Road, GDOT approval of an entrance on Highway 140, a landscape strip and four-rail wooden fence on all street frontage, the limitation of one new building, parking plan approval requirements and a notation that the owner must comply with all state and local rules and regulations. Commissioner West made the motion to approve the rezoning with conditions, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Following executive session, the Board added an item to call for a public hearing for a board-initiated rezoning of a 14.26-acre parcel from R-80 Estate Residential to LI (Light Industrial) at 3953 Ball Ground Highway. Commissioner West made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.

VENDOR APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2024 WOODSTOCK FARM. FRESH. MARKET.

PRESS RELEASE

WOODSTOCK, GA (Feb. 8, 2024) – Vendor applications for Woodstock’s Farm Fresh Market are now being accepted throughout the month of February. This year will mark the 16th season of the Market, which runs every Saturday morning from mid April to the end of December.

The rules of the Farm Fresh Market require vendors to grow at least 85% of the product they bring to market, which helps to guarantee that it remains one of the best markets in the region to find locally grown, fresh produce throughout the year.

“Vendors will be reviewed and approved for the Market starting in March, so everyone has the full month of February to turn in their applications,” shared Kyle Bennett, who oversees the operation of the Market as Tourism Manager for the city. “Applications will be approved based upon the quality and fit for the market, not on a first come basis.”

As a bit of history, the Woodstock Farm Fresh Market was commissioned to 1) provide local growers an outlet to showcase and market products; 2) publicize the importance of locally grown products; 3) provide opportunities for presentations and demonstrations related to agriculture, gardening, food safety and preparation; and 4) allow the citizens of Woodstock and the surrounding area the opportunity to buy healthy, locally grown products to enhance their quality of lifestyle.

Interested vendors can find applications online at www.visitwoodstockga.com/market, as well as in person from the Woodstock Visitors Center (8588 Main Street). Over 50 applicants will be approved for this year’s market.

The Woodstock Farm Fresh Market will be open every Saturday from April 20 to December 28, 2024. Market hours are 8:30am to 12pm. The market is located on Market Street in Downtown Woodstock.

ABOUT VISIT WOODSTOCK GA

Visit Woodstock Ga is the official destination marketing organization for the City of Woodstock, Georgia. Located thirty minutes northwest of Atlanta, Woodstock is home to a vibrant and authentic downtown full of local shops and restaurants, Georgia Small Business Rock Star Reformation Brewery, award-winning Woodstock Arts, the Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta, and a world class outdoor trails system.

The Ultimate Super Bowl Experience at the Daily Draft

PRESS RELEASE

Woodstock, GA (February 7, 2024) – The Daily Draft Sports Bar is thrilled to host the 58th Superbowl Sunday watch party experience on February 11th at 6 pm. They’ve teamed up with some of their brewery & community partners to give their guests the ultimate experience! The Daily Draft Sports Bar is located in the heart of downtown Woodstock and it’s the most innovative pour-your-own taproom and kitchen in the area, with over 50 state-of-the-art TVs, including a 360° video wall, ensuring that viewers won’t miss a beat of the game.

The night will kick off with running plays of deals and giveaways, including a chance to win some incredible prizes from thier brewery & community partners.. And the specials keep coming all night long – customers can enjoy delicious Kansas Chiefs BBQ Wings and San Francisco Sweet Heat Wings* paired with a pitcher of domestic beer for just $35. At halftime, The Daily Draft Sports Bar will be raffling off some major prizes, so guests should make sure to stick around for that! The brewery partners for this incredible event are Monday Night Brewing, one of Atlanta’s premier craft breweries, New Realm Brewery, a newcomer to the scene but already making a name for themselves
with their award-winning brews, and Still Fire, a local favorite known for their unique and experimental flavors that are sure to impress.

It is a free event, their food & beverage menu is available all night long!

For more information, please visit: www.thedailydraft.net
For media inquiries, please contact Tia Greene-Granger at tia@liebepr.com

ABOUT THE DAILY DRAFT

What happens when two great friends and entrepreneurs meet up for a beer and start swapping ideas for “the perfect sports bar?” Despite their rivalrous pasts as Georgia Tech and UGA graduates, Sean and Greg agreed that most sports bars were dated and uninspiring. The Daily Draft was built to break the traditions of the sports bar and bring back the excitement of game day for community members to celebrate many wins from local to national teams. With an open floor plan, on-demand sports and beer, a chef-inspired menu and modern technology, The Daily Draft reflects the spirit and style of the Woodstock community and delivers a sports bar experience like no other.

North Georgia Veterans Participate in HUD Annual Homeless Count

PRESS RELEASE

 

(Feb. 7, 2024) – HUD released on December 15 the 2023 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR), Part 1, which provides estimates of homelessness in the U.S. The 2023 report estimates that approximately 653,100 people were experiencing homelessness on a single night in 2023 – a 12% increase (or about 70,650 more people) from 2022.

In 2023, there were 67,495 homeless veterans. Veterans comprise 10.6% of all homeless in the U.S. and are 2x as likely to become homeless versus those who didn’t serve in the military. https://vaclaimsinsider.com/how-many-veterans-are-there. If you assumed equal distribution of homeless Veterans across each state that would mean that there are over 1,000 homeless Veterans here in Georgia. This is not what is being reported due to lack of valid data.

  • ? Georgia is the 3 rd largest Veteran population in the nation
  • ? Georgia has the largest female Veteran population of any state in the nation
  • ? 40% of all homeless Veterans have some type of mental health issue
  • ? 9% of homeless Veterans are female – some with children. These female Veterans at some time during their bout with homelessness have thought of suicide
  • ? According to reports – Veteran Homelessness rose 12% in 2023
  • ? According to reports, 40% of all Georgia Veteran families live in poverty

During the period of January 22 nd through January 29 th , for the ninth year a team of Veterans in north Georgia headed up by the Cherokee County Homeless Veteran Program (CCHVP), part of American Legion Post 45 in Canton, and Veterans from Vietnam Veterans of America, VFW, Cherokee Veterans Community, VETBUDS, and Cherokee Homeless Coalition searched a four county area for Homeless to include Homeless Veterans.

The four counties searched which include Cherokee, Pickens, Dawson, and Forsyth were selected as they are also part of a SAMHSA mental health grant targeted for Veterans noted Jim Lindenmayer, Director of CCHVP and Legion Post 45 Service Officer. During our count we encountered three Veterans living in their car, three single female Veterans with small children who were homeless, four Veterans who
reported mental health or addiction issues and two females fleeing from domestic Violence. We also are continuing to look for additional homeless Veterans that we were made aware of but so far have been unable to find.

In addition to the Veteran Homeless, the teams encountered a number of civilian homeless, 13 in Pickens and Forsyth counties, two in Dawson county and just shy of 100 homeless in Cherokee County. Information or backpacks were provided to the non-Veterans as to where they might seek help. The low response rate that we saw for the week of the count was due to rain and cold weather, as many
homeless were not out and about.

This sounds like there is not a homeless problem, however we encountered some other data that should
be noted that would suggest otherwise:

  • ? School districts report homeless in accordance with the McKinney-Vento Act.  The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act authorizes the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program and is the primary piece of federal legislation related to the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness. It was reauthorized in December 2015 by Title IX, Part A, of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

o Cherokee County School District is reporting @200 elementary and middle school children as being homeless
o Forsyth County School District is reporting @650 children in their school district as being homeless.
o No Data was provided by Pickens or Dawson County Schools
o The numbers above do not include parents or guardians so add another 1,700+ people as being homeless with school age children

  • ? Food pantries and food banks need to do a better job in reporting homeless

o In our pre-work on locating homeless that may be living in vehicles in Cherokee County we were made aware that very few food pantries ask if the person is homeless
o In talking to Dawson Count Food back, they gave out 190,000 lbs. of food to 8,000 people in the month of December. While this is great news, you have to look at the fact that Dawson County only has just over 26,000 residents. This would mean that one third of the county came to the food bank.

We currently have all of the Veterans we encountered in temporary housing in local hotels and have referred those with mental health or addiction issues to our partner AboutFACEUSA who leads the SAMHSA Veteran mental health Grant.

Lindenmayer also noted that only 34 of the eligible 152 rural counties to be counted were actually counted this year in the state of Georgia. This represents roughly 22% of all counties that should have been counted. Due to lack of focus on counting, Georgia ranks 26 th in Federal Grants for Veteran housing program dollars for HUD VASH and SSVF.

The annual Point in Time (PIT) count is sponsored nationally by Housing and outlines the key findings of the Point-In-Time (PIT) count and Housing Inventory Urban Development (HUD) and the state of Georgia agency that handles the count for the 152 rural counties called the Balance of State Continuum of Care (BOS COC) is the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. The results of the annual homeless count is reported to HUD, which then issues the annual report to Congress.
https://www.huduser.gov/portal/publications/2023-ahar-part-1-pit-estimates-of-homelessness.html
This report Count (HIC) conducted in January 2023. Specifically, this report provides 2023 national, state, and CoC-level PIT and HIC estimates of homelessness, as well as estimates of chronically homeless persons, homeless veterans, and homeless children and youth.

Reinhardt University Announces Spring Career Connection Expo

PRESS RELEASE

FREE RECRUITMENT OPPORTUNITY FOR EMPLOYERS AND JOB SEEKERS

WALESKA, GA (Jan. 16, 2024) – Reinhardt University and Goodwill of North Georgia’s Spring Career Connection Expo provides an in-person opportunity for businesses to meet talent in person. This annual job fair helps employers recruit top talent to their workforces, and job seekers to make connections.

Reinhardt is excited to provide this opportunity. It attracts a diverse array of industries to promote their entry-level, part-time, full-time, and internship opportunities, and students and community members representing a variety of talents, majors, disciplines, and personal experiences, who are prepared to fulfill current hiring needs.

The event will take place on Reinhardt’s campus:

Wednesday, March 27, 2024
5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Brown Athletic Center
Baxter Ave, Waleska, GA 30183

All employers and anyone seeking a new position, including students, are welcome to attend. Registration is now open.

EMPLOYER REGISTRATION

Click here for Employer Registration

PARTICIPANT REGISTRATION

Click here fore Participant Registration

The Career & Job Fair is sponsored by Reinhardt’s Office of Vocation & Career Services and Goodwill of North Georgia. For additional information about Reinhardt University’s Office of Vocation & Career Services visit Reinhardt.edu/CareerServices or contact career-services@reinhardt.edu or contact Goodwill of North Georgia at DHarris@ging.org.

 

ABOUT REINHARDT UNIVERSITY

Founded in 1883, Reinhardt University is a private, comprehensive institution grounded in the liberal arts. Reinhardt offers more than 40?graduate and undergraduate programs online and on campus, including business, education, music, theater, and nursing. Reinhardt’s 525-acre campus is ideally located in?Waleska?in the heart of Georgia’s high country and nearby the great international city of Atlanta. For more information, please contact Reinhardt at 770-720-5600 or see Reinhardt.edu.

Inaugural West Main Arts Festival Comes to the Downtown Canton Historic Corridor

PRESS RELEASE

INAUGURAL WEST MAIN ARTS FESTIVAL WELCOMES FINE ARTISTS, MUSICIANS, AND BUSKERS TO THE DOWNTOWN CANTON HISTORIC CORRIDOR, SATURDAY, MARCH 2

CANTON, GA (Jan. 23, 2024) – This spring, art gallery Menagerie on Main hosts the first-ever West Main Arts Festival along West Main Street in Downtown Canton. The connection point between the award-winning Mill on Etowah and charming Downtown Canton, the West Main corridor will recognize cultural and fine arts in this day long celebration where visitors will discover a fine arts market featuring some of the North Georgia region’s best creatives. While browsing, guests can also enjoy live music on two stages as well as be amazed by buskers including a fire thrower and juggler. Festival foods and family fun top off the day. 

“Bringing back an annual celebration of cultural arts to this area is so exciting,” says Menagerie on Main gallery owner Jamie Foreman. “No event like this exists in Cherokee County, and we are looking forward reveling in the arts for the day all along West Main Street! We couldn’t hold this one-of-a-kind festival without other art supporters including the Canton Cultural Arts Commission and Explore Canton, Enjoy Cherokee, Masterpiece Framer, and Atlanta Art Solutions as well as our other generous sponsors.” 

WEST MAIN ARTS FESTIVAL SATURDAY, MARCH 2, NOON – 6 PM

Admission to the Inaugural West Main Arts Festival is FREE.

More information is available online at: menagerieonmain.com/west-main-arts-festival

Menagerie on Main is located at 351 West Main St., Canton. Full music and street performance schedule as well as parking information will be online soon. 

WEST MAIN ARTS FESTIVAL SPONSORS

  • Canton Cultural Arts Commission (CCAC)/Explore Canton
  • Enjoy Cherokee
  • Atlanta Art Solutions
  • Masterpiece Framer
  • Grisham Poole & Carlile
  • Thrive Co-working
  • Speedy Productions
  • RT3 Architects
  • Kurt Wheeler
  • Gunnin Land Surveying

ABOUT MENAGERIE ON MAIN

Founded in 2020, Menagerie on Main is a cozy fine arts and gift gallery showcasing the works of 50 North Georgia artists. Find large-scale paintings, jewelry, pottery, textiles, and more in this historic Downtown Canton home turned creative boutique. Menagerie on Main also hosts live music events, artist exhibitions, adult and children’s workshops, and more. Learn more at menagerieonmain.com.

Historic Mill on Etowah Turns to the Wild Side on March 16-17 for Third Annual Etowah Wildlife Expo

PRESS RELEASE

CANTON, GA (Jan. 22, 2024) – This spring, The Mill on Etowah once again celebrates wildlife and the preservation of the North Georgia natural environment at its Third Annual Etowah Wildlife Expo. Along the shores of Downtown Canton’s Etowah River, this popular event welcomes wildlife vendors and fine artists and crafters to its market area. Visitors will also discover live animal exhibitions, falconry and reptile shows, dock diving competitions, festival foods, and other nature-inspired family activities including a Kid Fun Zone. This two-day event is expected to draw as many as 20,000 attendees.

CATCH A GOOD TIME AT ETOWAH RIVER OPEN KAYAK FISHING COMPETITION

New to this year’s Etowah Wildlife Expo, this beginner-friendly kayak fishing tournament includes raffle prizes and a cash prize for seasoned veterans. Registration is $50 and must be completed by March 1. For full rules and to register, visit https://linktr.ee/etowahmill.

“Our 2024 Etowah Wildlife Expo promises to be bigger and better than ever,” says Haley Clark, Event Coordinator with The Mill on Etowah. “We can’t wait to celebrate with so much to do for wildlife enthusiasts and families. Everyone loves seeing the splash our dock diving dogs make, and visitors are always swept away with the magic of our falconry demonstrations.”

ETOWAH WILDLIFE EXPO 2024 SCHEDULE

Saturday, March 16
Vendors, Market, Exhibits Open: Noon – 6 pm
NEW: Etowah River Open Kayak Fishing Competition: 7 am – 3 pm; Awards and Social at 5 pm on The Green
Live Music on The Green Stage: 6 – 8 pm

Sunday, March 17
Vendors, Market, Exhibits Open: Noon – 6 pm
Live Music on The Green Stage: 6 – 8 pm

Admission to the Third Annual Etowah Wildlife Expo is FREE.

Vendor applications for the Expo’s Market and food truck area must be received by Feb. 29, 2024.
More information online at: EtowahWildlifeExpo.com.

The Mill on Etowah is located at 225 Reformation Parkway in Canton. Parking is free.

ABOUT THE MILL ON ETOWAH

Once one of the largest producing denim factories in the United States, The Mill on Etowah now features a brewery/taproom; retail marketplace with general store, ice cream and coffee shops; restaurants; co-working offices; large events green; and more. For information about the award-willing Mill on Etowah and a listing of The Mill’s shoppes and restaurants, visit EtowahMill.com.

Woodstock Announces 2024 Special Events

PRESS RELEASE

WOODSTOCK, GA – The City of Woodstock has announced the dates of city-sponsored special events taking in 2024. The annual calendar includes ceremonies, parades, festivals, recycling events, and concerts.

Friday, February 16th is Arbor Day in the City of Woodstock and 730 seedlings will be given away that day at three locations: the City Hall Annex, the William G. Long Senior Center, and the Woodstock Visitors Center. Each year, the city plants a tree in the name of city employees celebrating 20 years of employment and this year a tree will be planted in honor of Parks and Recreation Office Manager Heather Gaddis.

Woodstock’s July 4th Spectacular takes place on Thursday, July 4th. The day begins with a 5K race in downtown Woodstock followed by the 28th Annual July 4th Spectacular Parade. After the parade, a family-friendly festival featuring carnival games, inflatables, and a HUGE foam party takes place in the Park at City Center. The day concludes with fireworks at dusk in the area around I-575 and Highway 92.

Woodstock Parks and Recreation will host the 5th Annual Halloween Trail of Tricks & Treats on Thursday, October 31 from 4 to 8 p.m. on the Rubes Creek Trail.

The Christmas Jubilee and Parade of Lights will take place on a new day this year. Woodstock’s 28th annual parade will take place on Sunday, December 8th beginning at 5:30 p.m. The lighting of the city’s official Christmas tree and a festival featuring Santa Claus will take place in the Park at City Center following the parade. Santa’s mailbox will be in the park until December 15th so kids can drop a letter in the mailbox and receive a reply before Christmas.

“The first Christmas Jubilee and Parade of Lights took place on the city’s 100th birthday, December 8, 1997. This year, the Sunday evening parade will again be on the city’s actual birthday,” said City Manager Jeff Moon. “The city has received many requests to move the parade so that it doesn’t take place during the SEC Championship game in recent years and we want to be considerate of our downtown businesses who would benefit by being able to host events on that night.”

The city will host annual observances with ceremonies in the Park at City Center. On Monday, May 30th, the city along with American Legion Post 316, Marine Corps League Detachment 1311, and Warriors’ Watch Riders will honor those who fought and died in the Armed Forces with a Memorial Day Ceremony at 10 a.m. Wednesday, September 11th marks the 23rd anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93. The City of Woodstock will honor those lost on that day, the service men and women fighting for our freedom, and first responders with a ceremony at 7 p.m. The city plans to host a Veterans Day Ceremony as well.

Various sustainability events will take place throughout 2024. Greenstock Day is Saturday, April 20th and the city’s annual recycling and paper shredding event will take place at Woodstock Elementary School. That weekend is also the Citywide Yard Sale. The ‘Tis the Season to be Green Recycling and Paper Shredding Event will take place on Saturday, November 16th. The Christmas Tree Chip & Dip takes place from December 26th through January 15th at Olde Rope Mill Park.

Mayor Michael Caldwell announced the lineup for the Woodstock Summer Concert Series during his State of the City Address on January 24th. The schedule for the 2024 Season is available at woodstockconcertseries.com

The city will host other concert series and music events in 2024. The Brown Bag Concert Series will take place at noon on Thursdays in May and September in the Park at City Center. Bring your lunch and a chair to these free lunchtime concerts. The Sunset Symphony takes place on Sunday, September 29th when the Cobb New Horizons Symphonic Band returns to the Northside Hospital-Cherokee Amphitheater.

For more details on these events, go to woodstockga.gov/specialevents.

About City of Woodstock, GA

Located just 30 miles north of Atlanta, Woodstock’s City limits include more than 12 square miles and over 35,000 residents. Woodstock is a Georgia PlanFirst Community and a recipient of Georgia Municipal Association’s Live Work Play City Award.

History Cherokee Participates in Georgia History Festival's Super Museum Sunday

PRESS RELEASE

CANTON, GA (Feb. 5, 2024) – History Cherokee recently announced that it will participate in the Georgia History Festival’s Super Museum Sunday on February 11, 2024.  Super Museum Sunday is part of the annual Georgia History Festival, the signature K-12 educational program of the Georgia Historical Society, reaching hundreds of thousands of students statewide. 

History Cherokee will join over 100 historic sites, house museums, art museums, and other points of interest throughout Georgia that will open their doors to the public, FREE of charge. They will offer a variety of in-person and virtual experiences that encourage Georgians of all ages to explore and experience the history, arts, and cultural opportunities of our great state.

The Cherokee County History Center documents the history of Cherokee County spanning from 11,000 B.C.E. to the present. Guests can explore six unique galleries each exploring different chapters in local and national history. The History Center will be open from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 11. 

Super Museum Sunday is supported by Delta Air Lines. 

For more information and to see a full listing of Super Museum Sunday sites visit georgiahistoryfestival.org

For more information about the Georgia History Festival or Super Museum Sunday, please contact Keith Strigaro, GHS Director of Communications at 912.651.2125, ext. 153 or by email at kstrigaro@georgiahistory.com

ABOUT THE GEORGIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining, and teaching Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation. To learn more visit georgiahistory.com.

ABOUT THE GEORGIA HISTORY FESTIVAL

The Georgia History Festival is the signature K-12 educational program of the Georgia Historical Society, reaching nearly 250,000 students statewide. Beginning with the new school year in September, a variety of public programs, exhibits, events, and educational resources bring history to life for students of all ages and encourage Georgians to explore the richness and diversity of our state’s past. In addition to new virtual programming, the Festival includes popular annual events like the Colonial Faire and Muster living-history program held at Wormsloe State Historic Site, the Georgia Day Expo, Super Museum Sunday, and the elegant Trustees Gala.

ABOUT HISTORY CHEROKEE

History Cherokee operates the Cherokee County History Center and the Historic Rock Bark. History Cherokee’s mission is the collection, preservation, and interpretation of Cherokee County history.

New Driving Tour Explores Cherokee County's Black History

PRESS RELEASE

CANTON, GA – History Cherokee invites residents and visitors to journey through Cherokee County’s Black history with a new driving tour. The tour highlights 19 sites  in Canton and Woodstock and seeks to shed light on the often overlooked contributions of the Black community in shaping the cultural and historical landscape of Cherokee County. The selected sites span decades and showcase the resilience, creativity, and perseverance of communities and  individuals who have left an indelible mark on Cherokee County.

The tour was developed by History Cherokee’s Black History Committee. Through projects such as the Black History Driving Tour, this group of volunteers helps History Cherokee be more diverse and representative in their storytelling. The Black History Driving Tour aims to raise awareness about the importance of preserving and celebrating Black history in our local community. By uncovering the stories of the past, we can foster a deeper understanding of our shared heritage and promote inclusivity. The tour encourages participants to reflect on the challenges faced by the Black community, celebrate their triumphs, and recognize the ongoing contributions of Black individuals to Cherokee County.

“We believe that by acknowledging and celebrating the diverse history of Cherokee County, we can cultivate a sense of unity and understanding among our residents,” said Harvee White, education and programs manager at History Cherokee. “These 19 locations provide a glimpse into Cherokee County’s Black history, and it is our responsibility to ensure that these stories are preserved for future generations.”

While some sites may be on private property, no longer standing, or not conducive to walking tours, the driving aspect of this experience allows for a safe and accessible exploration of the Black history of Cherokee County. Participants are encouraged to respect private property and exercise caution at sites that may pose safety concerns.

The driving tour is currently available online at https://georgia-humanities.opentour.site/cherokee-county-black-history. A print version of the tour will be available later in February at the Cherokee County History Center and other select locations in Cherokee County.

On February 20 at 7 p.m., the public is invited to History Cherokee’s Hear, Here lecture featuring members of the Black History Committee who were instrumental in developing this tour.  They will discuss the process, reflect on the importance of the tour, and answer questions about the project. This event is free. Registration is requested. Please register online at https://historycherokee.org/black-history-driving-tours.

This project is supported by Georgia Humanities, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, through funding from the Georgia General Assembly. The digital tour was created using Open Tour Building, a free software platform created by the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship.

ABOUT HISTORY CHEROKEE

History Cherokee operates the Cherokee County History Center and the Historic Rock Bark. History Cherokee’s mission is the collection, preservation, and interpretation of Cherokee County history.

Cherokee County Emergency Management Agency encourages residents to prepare during Severe Weather Preparedness Week starting Feb. 5.

CANTON, GA (Feb. 2, 2024) – Cherokee County Emergency Management Agency encourages residents to prepare during Severe Weather Preparedness Week starting Feb. 5. 

“Now is a great time to participate in Severe Weather Preparedness Week. This way, folks can start planning ahead of time for weather emergencies,” said Cherokee County EMA Director Daniel Westbrook. “This weeklong event helps you and your family learn what steps need to be taken to ensure your safety.”

During Severe Weather Preparedness Week, Cherokee County EMA will be releasing preparedness information across their social media accounts focusing on a different severe weather threat each day and providing information on how to best prepare for them. The schedule and topics include: 

Monday, Feb. 5 – Family Preparedness/NOAA Weather Radio Day (including Mass Notification Systems, NOAA Weather Radio and Wireless Emergency Alerts)

Tuesday, Feb. 6 – Thunderstorm Safety (Hail, Damaging Wind Threats and Impacts)

Wednesday, Feb. 7 – Tornado Safety (Weather permitting: The National Weather Service will conduct a NOAA Weather Radio Test Warning Message at 9 a.m. The test is designed to help trigger statewide schools, businesses and other groups to practice their severe weather/tornado safety actions and procedures.)

Thursday, Feb. 8 – Lightning Safety

Friday, Feb. 9 – Flash Flooding and Flood Safety 

 

Residents can expect to receive guidance on creating response plans when warnings are issued, as well as information on building Ready Kits containing necessary supplies after a disaster strikes.

“Residents are also strongly encouraged to have more than one way to receive a watch or warning from the National Weather Service,” said Westbrook. “Outdoor Warning Sirens are meant to alert individuals in an outdoor setting, such as a park, and should not be relied upon as your primary way to receive a tornado warning. Additionally, NOAA Weather Radios, Wireless Emergency Alerts or weather apps on a smart phone, and local television broadcasts are also good ways to receive a watch or warning.” 

Cherokee County offers a free mass notification system called CodeRED to all residents that provides phone, text, and/or email alerts for weather watches and warnings. For more information on CodeRED or to register visit www.cherokeega-ema.org and click on the CodeRED icon or text CHEROKEEALERT to 99411

For information on Severe Weather Preparedness Week follow Cherokee County EMA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CherokeeEMA and Twitter at www.twitter.com/ema_CherokeeGA. For additional preparedness information, please visit Cherokee County Emergency Management at www.cherokeega-ema.org and FEMA’s preparedness website at www.ready.gov.  

 

 

ABOUT CHEROKEE COUNTY

Located 30 miles north of downtown Atlanta, Cherokee County is part of the 11-county metro-Atlanta area. Cherokee County boasts a population of more than 281,000, according to the July 2022 Census estimates. It is the one of the fastest growing counties in the metro region and its overall Board of Commissioners-controlled tax burden per capita is one of the lowest in the region.  Cherokee County has award-winning parks and recreational facilities, is a destination for corporate headquarters and is a great place to live, work and play. Cherokee County is the best of both worlds because it’s where “Metro Meets the Mountains.” Learn more at cherokeega.com.

Cherokee County E 9-1-1 to launch new citizen engagement tool

CANTON, GA (Jan. 29, 2024) – Cherokee County E 9-1-1 will launch a new citizen engagement and feedback tool aimed at improving services.

Beginning Feb. 1, E 9-1-1 will begin using PowerEngage, a tool that uses text messaging to keep citizens informed and will allow them to provide feedback after a non-life-threatening incident.

 “In today’s society, we understand how important it is to keep citizens informed,” said Cherokee County E 9-1-1 Director Shane Bonebrake.  ”Similar to how private companies use tools to send automatic text message notifications, updates, and satisfaction surveys to their customers, Cherokee E 9-1-1 will now be able to do the same. We expect that this new tool will help us enhance communication with the citizens we serve and help us continue to improve the services we provide.”

Text messages will be sent several hours after specific incident types asking citizens to take a quick survey about their experience with their call for service. An additional feature also allows citizens to provide comments, feedback, or have an opportunity to thank the 9-1-1 call-taker in a live feed that will be viewable to the call-takers.  

Text message surveys will be sent to those whose number is recorded as part of a call for service. But citizens can also provide feedback without receiving a text message by visiting https://www.cherokeega-911.org/feedback.

Residents who do not want to participate can simply not respond or may reply with STOP to opt out of all future text surveys from the department.

“It is important that everyone know that these surveys should not be used to report any type of emergency or crime,” said Bonebrake.  “As always, call 9-1-1 for any emergency or to report any criminal activity.”


ABOUT CHEROKEE COUNTY

Located 30 miles north of downtown Atlanta, Cherokee County is part of the 11-county metro-Atlanta area. Cherokee County boasts a population of more than 281,000, according to the July 2022 Census estimates. It is the one of the fastest growing counties in the metro region and its overall Board of Commissioners-controlled tax burden per capita is one of the lowest in the region.  Cherokee County has award-winning parks and recreational facilities, is a destination for corporate headquarters and is a great place to live, work and play. Cherokee County is the best of both worlds because it’s where “Metro Meets the Mountains.” Learn more at cherokeega.com.

WOODSTOCK MAYOR MICHAEL CALDWELL PRESENTS 2024 STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS

WOODSTOCK, GA – Woodstock Mayor Michael presented his 2024 State of the City Address to a sold-out crowd at the Woodstock Arts Theater on the morning of Friday, January 26, 2024. 
Mayor Caldwell began the address by saying, “I am proud to report that our city today remains financially secure, economically robust, artistically vibrant, and the sought-after home of go-getters and dreamers throughout the region.” 
The mayor noted the City of Woodstock’s 2023 investments in public safety officers and parks and trails as well as the city’s historically low tax rates citing that Woodstock was among the only local governments in Georgia that did not raise taxes last year. 
“From the largest police pay increase in our city’s history, to the largest parks investment in a century, to impossible growth boundary agreements, our city continues to solve the problems we face with record-breaking success. Let today be the moment that we promise to one another that we will build a city recommitted to the premise that our children should inherit more from us, not less,” Mayor Caldwell challenged the audience. He continued, “We owe it to them.” 
Mayor Caldwell shared renderings of the future Little River Park and said that with the project in the design and engineering stage, the city projects completion of the park before the end of his first term (December 31, 2025). While speaking of the work of Woodstock Parks and Recreation, Caldwell revealed the lineup for the 2024 Season of the Woodstock Summer Concert Series. 
The season begins on Saturday, May 11, 2024, with rock legends Night Ranger. On June 8th, The Guardians of the Jukebox will rock the Northside Hospital Cherokee Amphitheater. Post-grunge icons Tonic headline the July 13th concert. Michael Jackson tribute Who’s Bad performs at the August 10th concert, and country legend Eddie Montgomery closes the 2024 season with a concert on September 14th. 
Mayor Caldwell spoke about Woodstock’s infrastructure saying, “Problems with issues like traffic and parking are only present in places that people want to be. Our city today stands as a thriving community filled with life. So many other cities in our state and nation question their futures while their populations steadily decline.” Mayor Caldwell shared renderings of a pedestrian plaza planned for Elm Street to be named in honor of retired Assistant City Manager Rob Hogan that will align at a primary crosswalk on Main Street to create a more pedestrian-safe and friendly experience and a more efficient driving experience through the center of downtown. 

Mayor Caldwell discussed his priority of building a stronger commercial base noting the recent groundbreaking for Depot Square positioned between Woodstock’s historic train depot and Woodstock City Center which will bring tens of thousands of square feet of new office, restaurant, and retail space as well as a hotel and conference space to downtown Woodstock. The mayor said that most of the new commercial space will be complete in late 2025 and the parking deck will open before the end of this calendar year. 
Recently appointed Vice Chair of the Atlanta Regional Commission, Mayor Caldwell noted that the ARC’s Metro Atlanta Speaks survey identified crime as the biggest challenge facing the region. The mayor credited Woodstock City Council’s 26-percent starting pay increase with allowing the Woodstock Police Department to be fully staffed and at full force for the first time in over a decade. Mayor Caldwell also highlighted the achievements of Woodstock Fire Department in 2023 that included an overhaul of the ranking system and the creation of a Community Risk Reduction Division. 
Speaking of his priority of making the American dream of homeownership available to more of Woodstock’s citizens, Mayor Caldwell outlined his and Councilman Colin Ake’s involvement in the development of policy for affordability in housing for our region through the Georgia Municipal Association. 
Mayor Caldwell addressed the financial health of the city stating that the City of Woodstock has more than doubled its unassigned general fund balance in the last two years. The mayor emphasized that Moody’s and S&P increased Woodstock’s credit rating to Aa1 and AA+ in December 2023. Caldwell stated, “Improving economic metrics, sustained reserve levels, and an improving debt profile were just a few of the positive indicators that make the financial world bullish on Woodstock.” According to Caldwell, “Our city now sits just one level shy of having a perfect credit rating, which represents real savings for our taxpayers and exemplifies excellent financial stewardship.” 
The mayor concluded his address by sharing the City of Woodstock’s new mission statement developed at city leadership’s annual retreat last week saying, “We are building a city that feels like home.” Mayor Caldwell shared the City’s vision to boldly pursue what’s next to build a thriving community. 
“This incredible narrative began long before us, and it will undoubtedly live beyond us,” said Michael Caldwell. “The decisions we make and the stories we tell will shape this place for those who come after, and our bold, collaborative, authentic City Unexpected will surely rise to the challenge.” 
Mayor Caldwell’s full address is available in video and text formats in the news section of the City of Woodstock website at woodstockga.gov. 


About City of Woodstock, GA: Located just 30 miles north of Atlanta, Woodstock’s City limits include more than 12 square miles and over 35,000 residents. Woodstock is a Georgia PlanFirst Community and a recipient of Georgia Municipal Association’s Live Work Play City Award. 

Woodstock's Summer Concert Series for 2024.

WOODSTOCK, GA – In his 2024 State of the City Address, Woodstock Mayor Michael Caldwellannounced the lineup for the upcoming season of the Woodstock Summer Concert Series. WSCS's 2024 Season is a mix of music genres. The hits you'll hear on the Northside Hospital-Cherokee Amphitheaterstage this year span music eras from the 60s to today. From metal to grunge and from familiar chart-toppers to honky-tonk anthems, the 2024 Season has something for every music fan!

On May 11th, WSCS's 2024 Season opens with heavy-hitting rock legends Night Ranger whose anthems “Sister Christian,” “(You Can Still) Rock In America,” and “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” will electrify downtown Woodstock in what will be one of the best stops on their 2024 tour.

 

 

 

The fun continues June 8th with The Guardians of the Jukebox. The Guardians are a five-star, nostalgiajuggernaut transporting fans right back to the 80s with smash hits from artists like Madonna, Tears forFears, Bon Jovi, Lionel Richie, and more. Black Lion Reggae opens for the Guardians with the powerfulrhythms and soulful melodies of reggaes most-loved artists.

 

 

On July 13th, 90s chart-topper Tonic will share their enduring hits like "If You Could Only See" and "You Wanted More" with fans in downtown Woodstock. Fellow post-grunge icons The Verve Pipe opens theshow with fan favorites as well as songs from their latest album.

 

 

 

Saturday, August 10th, Who’s Bad’s power-packed performance of Michael Jackson’s catalog will get thecrowd up on their feet in the Northside Hospital-Cherokee Amphitheater. Who's Bad's 20th Anniversary Tourwill thrill the WSCS audience with a power-packed performance of Michael Jackson's original grooves and gravity-defying dance moves. This professional ensemble of musicians and dancers predates MJ's passingand is the longest-running Michael Jackson tribute band in existence.

 

 

The season closes on September 14th with Eddie Montgomery of country duo Montgomery Gentry. Even though you may catch Eddie taking a quick glance at the empty space beside him, he and The Wild Bunch are going to get rowdy in downtown Woodstock on the last night of WSCS's 2024 Season. Montgomeryand musical partner Troy Gentry rocked to stardom in the early 2000s with hits like "Hell Yeah" and " Hillbilly Shoes." Following Gentry's untimely death in a helicopter crash, Eddie Montgomery has kept his promise to go on. Fellow honky-tonkers Across the Wide will open the show with a toe-tapping set list of Americana and traditional country songs.

"The City of Woodstock, Georgia and its award-winning Parks and Recreation Department present someof the best outdoor events in the Atlanta region," said Mayor Michael Caldwell. "Georgia's 20th largest citydoesn't miss a party and the concerts of Woodstock Summer Concert Series are at the top the community's list of favorites year over year."

Since 1998, Woodstock Summer Concert Series has brought thousands of fans to downtown Woodstock each summer to enjoy a diverse variety of music from iconic original artists and energetic tribute acts. A select group of private-sector sponsors partner with the City of Woodstock helping to deliver an incredible concert experience each year. Last year, WSCS broke attendance records welcoming more than 14,000 fansto just one of the shows. The 2024 lineup is destined to be another record-breaking success.

The concert series website has been redesigned for 2024. Go to woodstockconcertseries.com to learn more about the 26th season of Woodstock Summer Concert Series.

 


About City of Woodstock, GA: Located just 30 miles north of Atlanta, Woodstock’s City limits include more than 12 square miles and over 35,000 residents. Woodstock is a Georgia PlanFirst Community and a recipient of Georgia Municipal Association’s Live Work Play City Award.

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