FORSYTH COUNTY — One day after being named Georgia’s healthiest county, Forsyth also maintained its rank as the fastest growing.
A U.S. Census Bureau report released Thursday shows that Forsyth’s population rose 4 percent, or 7,478 people, between July 1, 1012, and July 1, 2013.
And as Forsyth County Commission Chairman Pete Amos was quick to point out — it’s not just growth, it’s “good, quality growth.”
“Our growth has been pretty good to keep the quality of life up and the quality of health up,” said Amos, who also mentioned the health title.
Amos said growth could be a double-edged sword, with the increased need for improved infrastructure and more schools, but the quality is what keeps people coming to the county.
“We’ve got to put more money into schools and more money into some roads ... getting to work and back home and spending quality time with the family,” Amos said.
Columbia County near Augusta had the second highest growth rate, at 2.9 percent, followed by Bryan County and Long County, both in southeast Georgia and at 2.8 percent.
Despite its growth, Forsyth is still not among the state’s most populous counties, at about 195,000 residents. That title is reserved for Fulton County, with 984,293 residents, followed by Gwinnett County, at 859,304, and Cobb County with 717,190.
James McCoy, president and CEO of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce said the county’s remained the state’s fastest growing since before he took over the chamber role nearly a decade ago.
“It’s great news that we remain there. I think it continues to be reflective that this community has made some really thoughtful and careful investments in the right places, like our schools and amenities,” he said. “It’s just an attractive place to be.”
Managing business and population growth responsibly, McCoy said, is a dilemma facing every high-growth community across the nation. So far, Forsyth has kept a good balance, as he pointed toward the county’s low unemployment rate and the number of new businesses that are opening.
“The fact that people are attracted to the community and believe in it and want to be here, a lot of those same things that are true for individuals, are the same things businesses are looking for,” McCoy said.
“They want to be in a great community, they want their employees to be in a great community and they want a community that values great schools, great amenities, quality of life and infrastructure.
“As a result, people want to be here.”