Georgia County Government - Fall 2013 - (Page 26)
Focusing on the Benefits
of Protecting Rural Roots
By Noble Sprayberry
slowly over time,
but there are
benefits to that.
it is usually built
to last because
Oglethorpe County intends to market itself while balancing
two potentially conflicting goals: protect a rural, agricultural way of life while promoting economic development.
Creating an honest, realistic brand represents one step to
finding that balance, a process driven by community input
and one resulting in a distinct take on marketing a county.
“If you don’t identify what you want, then you’ll get
people who might not necessarily fit into your county,”
said County Commission Chairman Billy Pittard. “So, our
branding process isn’t your typical marketing scheme.”
The county hired Nashville-based North Star
Destination Strategies this year to help develop a branding strategy, an $84,000 effort set for completion in 2014.
“It’s not marketing what you’re trying to attract as
much as it is identifying what you’re not trying to attract,”
Pittard said. “You want to make sure the people who come
to the community fit. That’s for their benefit as well as
the community’s benefit.”
The philosophy evolved from community meetings and
surveys identifying the need to grow the county’s economic base without changing the rural lifestyle. “Those
two things are not exactly synonymous with one another,
at first glance, but I think they can be,” Pittard said.
A Proudly Rural County
Oglethorpe County Planning Director Josh Hawkins,
like many residents, embraces the culture and image of
He compares the county’s pace to the growth rate of
one of the community’s claims to fame: The Oglethorpe
Oak, a rare tree species discovered within the county
in 1947. An example of the tree lives on the courthouse
lawn in downtown Lexington.
“We’ve grown slowly over time, but there are benefits to that,” he said. “If something grows slowly, it
is usually built to last because it’s structurally more
stable,” he said. “I do believe there’s a strong analogy
between the growth of an oak tree, the Oglethorpe Oak
GEORGIA COUNTY GOVERNMENT
Oglethorpe County is working to balance the
protection of its rural history with economic
development and seeking to attract individuals
and businesses that seek a similar quality of life.
Photo by Harry Hayes.
in particular, and the slow-growing, deliberate growth
of the county.“
About 14,500 people live in Oglethorpe County, a
stretch of 441 square miles about 70 miles east of Atlanta.
The community was established in 1793 and named after
General James Edward Oglethorpe, who founded the
colony of Georgia 60 years earlier.
In addition to the county seat of Lexington, the county
is home to three municipalities: Arnoldsville, Maxeys
and Crawford, which is the largest town with about 800
people. “The population we have is widely distributed,”
Hawkins said. “It’s low-density, and it’s meant to be
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - Fall 2013
UGA’s Archway Partnership: Empowerment for Georgia’s Communities
Oglethorpe County: Focusing on the Benefi ts of Protecting Rural Roots
Eliminating Risks: LGRMS Celebrates 25 Years
Where Do We Stand? One Year after Georgia’s Criminal Justice Reform
Understanding the Impacts of Juvenile Justice Reform
New Jail Facilities: Counties Focus on New Technology and Capacity to Expand
2013 Legislative Service Award Recipients
Hospital Survival: Informed County Commissioners Can Preserve Local Health Care
Federal New: More Gridlock and Uncertainty May Be Expected in Washington for FY 2014
Slice by Slice: Students Learn About the Signifi cance of Agriculture on Pizza Farms
Talking Trees with Georgia’s County Commissioners
Partner News: Value at the Heart of the Unique Gas South-ACCG Partnership
Commercial Swimming Pool Renovations Do’s and Don’ts
Counties & The Law: The Supreme Court, the Voting Rights Act and Georgia Counties
Legal News: Bidding in Georgia: What to Do When the Lowest
Conference Preview: Legislative Leadership
News & Notes
Index of Advertisers
Georgia County Government - Fall 2013