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Government, schools give update at state of the county
State of the County
Ann Crow, chairwoman of the Forsyth County Board of Education, talks to the crowd during the annual state of the county address Wednesday. - photo by Kelly Whitmire

Forsyth County is known for its high rankings in a number of categories. This week, local officials gave an update on how they help make that happen. 

On Wednesday, the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual State of the County event at the Forsyth Conference Center at Lanier Tech. The event’s keynote speakers were Forsyth County Commission Chairman Todd Levent and Ann Crow, chairwoman of the Forsyth County Board of Education, who is retiring at the end of the year.

“This is bittersweet for me, because I have loved being on the school board, and it has been a joy being part of a system that has improved every year and keeps on keeping on,” Crow said. 

Crow said the school system had changed a lot in her 16 years on the board and would continue changing with the opening of two new schools: Denmark High School and the Alliance Academy for Innovation.

She also told those in attendance about a new program aimed at creating fluent, bilingual students.

“This year, in partnership with the state, we will be opening a dual-language immersion program in three elementary schools,” Crow said. “These students, which are chosen and will eventually become a lottery program, will start in kindergarten. Half will learn in one language and half will learn in English, and then they’ll swap. For 12 years, they’ll be learning content in two different languages.”

On the county government side, Levent spoke to one of local residents’ biggest issues: traffic.

“Right now, we’re nearing the end of the process of updating our comprehensive transportation plan, which is a guide document outlining the long-range vision of transportation in the county,” Levent said. 

Levent said the plan included widening projects for Post Road, McGinnis Ferry Road, Hwy. 306 from Ga. 400 to Hwy. 369 and Atlanta Highway (Hwy. 9) from the Fulton County line to the Cumming city limit. 

He also highlighted the county’s effort to obtain a permit to draw water from Lake Lanier. Currently, only the city of Cumming has a permit, and the county purchases water from the city. In November, three county commissioners recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to hand-deliver a request for the permit to elected officials.

Levent spoke about the need to balance growth in the county with economic development. He said the county had a growth rate of 4.3 percent in 2011 and a project growth rate in 2019 of percent 2.9 percent.

“While population growth is slowing, new, expanding businesses brought over 1,300 new jobs and $167 million in capital investment into the county,” Levent said. “That growth is on track for another strong year in 2018, as 477 new jobs and $62.7 million have been announced so far.”