Georgia County Government - May/June 2011 - (Page 10)

County Feature Oconee County: Growth Driven by Quality of Life and Strong Schools By Rebecca McCarthy W hen Judy and Bill Fox moved to Wat k i nsv i l le i n 1986, Oconee County was primarily rural, with two-lane roads, a few fancy houses and limited services for residents. It wasn’t unusual to see tractors on the roads during spring and fall. Cotton bloomed in fields along Georgia Highway 53, a welltraveled route linking Oconee and Barrow counties. “In those days, living in Oconee cost less than in Athens,” Judy Fox says. “But we didn’t move because houses were cheaper or taxes were less, we really moved for the school system.” To buy groceries, she says, they would head to Athens. To shop for clothes, they drove to Athens. They gassed up their cars in Athens, went out to dinner in Athens and bought home fixtures and furnishings in Athens. “I remember when there was a Jack’s grocery and a Bell’s supermarket at Butler’s Crossing, and that was about it,” says Fox. “And in the little white house, there was a pizza place and a record store. Like anybody remembers what records are anymore” The days of driving to Athens for everything are long gone, as are the white house and the pizza joint. Oconee today has an ever-growing retail corridor on the north side of the county along Epps Bridge Parkway. The stores include, among others, Walmart, Lowe’s and Home Depot, plus Kohl’s, Kroger and Trader Joe’s—which pulls customers from across the Athens metro area. A busy Publix anchors a large shopping center at Butler’s Crossing (the intersection of Hwy. 53 and Mars Hill Road). The stores were largely responsible for most of the $4.3 million in sales tax revenues and $4.8 million in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) money the county collected in 2010. High Shoals Elementary School in Oconee County was completed in the summer of 2008. Photo courtesy of Oconee County Board of Education. 10 GEORGIA COUNTY GOVERNMENT

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - May/June 2011

Georgia County Government - May/June 2011
Table of Contents
President’s Message
Director’s Desk
Oconee County: Growth Driven by Quality of Life and Strong Schools
ACCG Annual Meeting Highlights
ACCG and Gas South Affinity Program Saves You Money on Natural Gas
GCIP Interns Help Map the Future for Bartow County
Georgia Geospatial Advisory Council Advises Use of GIS
Douglas County Incorporates Sustainable Design into Plans for the New Adult Detention and Law Enforcement Center
Deliberate Indifference to a Serious Medical Need: Inmate Claims under § 1983
News & Notes
Index of Advertisers

Georgia County Government - May/June 2011