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Officials hopeful about future of Forsyth
Annual State of the County reviews progress, goals
state of county 2
Forsyth County Commission Chairman Pete Amos speaks during the annual State of the County address Thursday at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center. - photo by Micah Green

FORSYTH COUNTY -- The state of Forsyth County, from the eyes of stakeholders and public officials, is looking up.

During the annual State of the County address Thursday at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center, Board of Commissioners Chairman Pete Amos and Board of Education Chairwoman Darla Light shared statistics and their future goals for services and amenities throughout Forsyth.

In his address at the program, which was hosted by the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce and the Council for Quality Growth, Amos – commissioner for District 1 in Cumming – focused much of his address on projects that are underway along roadways throughout Forsyth.

What may be one of the most anticipated and visible projects is the expansion of Ga. 400, which is building one extra lane in each direction from McFarland Parkway (Exit 12) to Hwy. 369 (Exit 18).

Construction on the northbound lane began in November and is expected to open from McFarland to Peachtree Parkway (Exit 13) by September.

“We’re busting at the seams,” Amos said.

Last year, new and existing businesses created 541 jobs and made nearly $40 million in new capital investments in the community.

According to Bruce Hagenau, 2016 chairman of the Chamber, 300 new jobs have been created since January.

Amos also discussed growing involvement in the county’s amenities, including the parks and recreation department and Lake Lanier.

He noted a 4.2 unemployment rate, a 20 percent drop in crime since 2013 and a participation of more than 50,000 people in fitness, sports, recreation and wellness activities.

“People want to live here. They want to be here to experience our parks and natural beauty,” he said.

He said the county is working on revamping its comprehensive plan and encouraged residents to submit their input through today at fosterforsyth.com.

During a question and answer session after presentations, Amos responded to queries about the makeup of the county government, water conservation and economic development priorities, while the questions regarding the school system involved school resource officers, increasing achievement and growing diversity.

Light, who holds the District 4 education post in north Forsyth, mirrored the county’s upward trends.

While adding more than 2,000 students since May, the district’s graduation rate increased to 94.1 percent, its highest to date.

Light boasted the school system’s College and Career Readiness Performance Index, or CCRPI, of 91.8 – the highest of any district in the state.

“Personalized learning is a very big goal for our school system. If you go into an elementary school, a lot of kids can tell you, ‘I’m a visual learner’ or ‘I’m an audio learner,’” she said. “And that’s true. We all learn differently, and the goal is to help every kid maximize their potential with their learning skills.”

She said upcoming projects the district is looking forward to include the opening of Brandywine Elementary and DeSana Middle this fall and Denmark High School and the Alliance Academy for Innovation in 2018.

“I think it’s going to pave a lot of roads,” she said, “for a lot of other learners.”