Cherokee By Choice 2.0: A Launchpad for Big, Bold Action
Cherokee By Choice 2.0: A Launchpad for Big, Bold Action
Five-Year Plan Guides Cherokee’s Economic Development Strategy & Lifestyle Brand
On Wednesday, March 23rd at the Historic Canton Theatre, the Cherokee Office of Economic Development (COED) announced the launch of Cherokee By Choice (CBC) 2.0 – a strategic plan that guides Cherokee’s economic development efforts forward over the next five years.
“This robust plan elevates Cherokee’s economic development profile while unifying the business and local community together under the “Cherokee By Choice” brand,” said COED Chairman Marshall Day.
Much has been accomplished since the launch of Opportunity Cherokee in 2015 (the county’s first strategic plan for economic development) and the Cherokee By Choice Initiative in 2018 (COED’s first public-private partnership). These achievements include over $436,000,000 in capital investment, creation of 2,000+ jobs, completion of Cherokee 75 Corporate Park, the Cherokee Workforce Collaborative, the Fresh Start Cherokee Program including Cherokee’s first coworking space – The Circuit Woodstock, the North Atlanta Venture Mentoring Service, Be Pro Be Proud Georgia, the Cherokee Film Summit, and the Forget the Commute Campaign – to name a few.
“Cherokee’s story is one of resilience and success – 191 years in the making,” said COED President Misti Martin. “The business community and people who call Cherokee home are second to none and together, we are building an ecosystem that serves as a launching pad for big dreams and bold action. CBC 2.0 is the next step in Cherokee’s continued success.”
Building upon this foundation, CBC 2.0 was developed in partnership with Boyette Strategic Advisors – an economic development and public policy consulting firm.
“Cherokee is a dynamic place of choice as evidenced by its substantial growth and highly rated amenities for business and residents. It’s one of America’s big surprises,” said Boyette President and CEO Del Boyette.
CBC 2.0 was based on hours of engagement with Cherokee leadership and nearly 3,500 online survey participants, including extensive data collection obtained through a series of discovery sessions, one-on-one interviews, and research. As a result, six high growth target sectors were identified:
- Advanced Manufacturing with a focus on green and sustainable products and medical devices
- Headquarters, recruitment of both corporate and regional
- Technology, including cybersecurity and data centers
- Film & Digital Entertainment, including film production studios and video game programming/development
- Entrepreneurs/Startups that specialize in technology and creative services
- Commercial Developers that target Class A office space, mixed-use, and a hotel/conference center
The plan also features four strategic goal areas:
- Ensure Cherokee has attractive and connected places, including the development of marketable sites and buildings while enhancing livability assets
- Build an educated and talented workforce to meet the needs of new and existing businesses
- Cultivate innovating and enterprising business, which will result in a more diversified business culture that supports new and legacy manufacturers, corporate and regional headquarters, and technology companies.
- Retain a vibrant and inviting brand identity both internally and externally
Cherokee County is home to both corporate and regional headquarters, including award-winning technology companies like Black Airplane, which opened its first “hanger” along with a small “flight crew” in 2017 at The Circuit Woodstock.
“Black Airplane employs 30 families here in Cherokee County, and it all started at The Circuit Woodstock,” said Black Airplane Founding Partner and City of Woodstock Mayor Michael Caldwell. “If we didn’t have that launchpad, we could not have built that. Economic development is important because of the long-term impact it makes but also for what it means for families. We are proud to invest in Cherokee By Choice.”
Identifying product for future industrial, office, and commercial development is crucial to the success of CBC 2.0, which will help diversify the tax base and drive down Cherokee’s out-commute. Even though the percentage has declined by three percent since the first strategic plan, 77 percent of Cherokee’s highly educated workforce still commute out of the county daily.
As part of the strategy’s next phase, COED will focus its efforts on keeping talent local through projects such as the Canton Corporate Park – a development that is expected to become another premier destination for companies looking to relocate. The park’s master plan includes two large pad sites with the ability to accommodate 150,000+ sq. ft. as well as flex space sites fronting State Route 20.
Cherokee County Development Authority Board Chairman Steve Holcomb, who led the development of Cherokee’s first corporate park in 1985, said “We have the right leadership and the right plan to put the dreams of this community into reality. To our investors, thank you for partnering in the future of Cherokee County.”
Over the next five years and beyond, COED will continue partnering with the county and cities on infrastructure improvements and readying sites for sustainable, corporate growth. This collaboration will ensure Cherokee remains a competitive, highly desirable location of choice.
“A successful economic development strategy means being in a place where support, resources, and partnerships are a top priority – this is where Cherokee excels,” said Cobb EMC Director of Commerical Marketing and CBC Chairman Mark Goddard. “Partnerships like these have made it easy for Cobb EMC to continue its investment and partner in the county’s success.” Within the first four years of the five-year plan, Cherokee By Choice has exceeded all its goals and expectations, building a solid reputation of trust. We are excited about the future and look forward to being a part of Cherokee By Choice 2.0.”
To learn more or read a summary of the CBC 2.0 Strategic Plan, visit cherokeega.org.
Read the Executive Summary HERE.