Walker County Newsletter  Issue 14
View this email in your browser
In this issue:
  • SNEAK PREVIEW: Walker Rocks
  • Preservation Society Drops Lawsuit; Site Selection Process Explained
  • Nick-A-Jack Road Enhancements Underway
  • Quick Hits
Walker Rocks - Coming June 20th!

On June 20th, you're invited to help share some of Walker County's most valuable assets with the world. 

Walker Rocks will showcase scenic and stunning destinations available for rock climbing, hiking, biking, paddle boarding and other outdoor experiences. This new focus on tourism, which includes the creation of, invites outdoor enthusiasts to come explore our environmental wonders.

The tourism industry supported 640 jobs in Walker County in 2016 and generated over $63 million in direct tourist spending. Since Walker County has organically become a destination for people seeking outdoor adventures, there's plenty of room to grow. As more people visit Walker County, additional services will follow.

What can you do? Join us online and help us spread the word! Anytime you visit an outdoor recreational spot in Walker County, post about it on social media using #WalkerRocks on Instagram and like Walker Rocks on Facebook so you can use the @WalkerRocks tag there too.

After June 20th, our social media channels will be releasing additional content to like and share with your friends and family, as we invite you to "come play!"

Preservation Society Drops Lawsuit
Site Selection Process Explained

In recent weeks, you may have seen stories concerning a lawsuit filed by a local preservation society against the taxpayers of Walker County. The lawsuit concerned rumors of an economic development project at the old Barwick Archer property, which is zoned industrial and owned by a private individual.

The society withdrew its lawsuit last week. Ruth Almeter, a member of the group, said, "We felt that dropping the lawsuit was in the best interest of Walker County and its citizens to productively move forward.”

After learning of this development, Commissioner Shannon Whitfield responded. “Though well-meaning citizens may have varying opinions about specific economic development opportunities, everyone agrees job and wage growth remain a common goal,” said Whitfield. “We will continue to represent the citizens of Walker County in good faith and with the highest integrity as we pursue companies that desire to create quality jobs and be good corporate citizens in our community.”

“By working together to achieve our common goal, we enhance our appeal to prospective partners around the world and present our community in a positive light,” Whitfield added.

On a positive note, this situation did create an opportunity to review how the economic development process works.

When a large company considers an expansion or relocation, it hires a site selector to find potential locations and meet with local representatives. If our community makes that initial cut, the site selector may reveal minor details about the potential project. If our representatives wish to continue the conversation, they are often required to sign a non-disclosure agreement or NDA. This is done to protect the company's information from competitors and to avoid real estate speculation, among other factors. 

During this phase, our development team may learn sensitive information about the company, such as financials, employment, consolidation plans or the development of new technology and product lines. While NDA's keep us in the game and keep other communities being considered from seeing our playbook, they also make it difficult to show the public the value of the work being conducted on their behalf behind the scenes.

Occasionally, the prospective business will express a desire for discretion, without requiring a formal NDA. Regardless of the preference, our development team will respect their wishes in order to represent the people of Walker County honorably and maximize our opportunities. 

If the project gets to a point where the company negotiates incentives, each local community still being considered puts their best offer on the table. Should the company then select our community, the incentive offer must be agreed to and voted on by the Walker County Development Authority in a public meeting. 

This process only works if we are able to maintain a reputation of trust with those interested in growing business in Walker County.

Watch a video of Robert Wardlaw, Economic and Community Development Director, explaining how the selection and NDA process works.    

Nick-A-Jack Road Enhancements Underway

Walker County Public Works crews recently started a multi-phase project to improve the safety of Nick-A-Jack Road.

A mudslide that occurred several years ago had been causing travel troubles. Dirt and rock was encroaching the road and blocking the natural flow of water off Lookout Mountain. Whenever it rained, the water would jump the road and wash dirt and rock across the pavement.

Crews spent a week correcting this spot and then transitioned to shoulder work.

These two maintenance projects to enhance safety had to be completed before Nick-A-Jack can be repaved in the future.

See the progress in action with videos from the scene: 
All Walker County Government offices will be closed on Wednesday, July 4th.
Quick Hits
The second Retire Your Tires Amnesty Day event outperformed the original! We collected 6,741 tires during the May 19th event. Last fall, the community cleaned up 5,543 tires. Properly disposing of scrap tires helps eliminate mosquito breeding sites. We would like to thank everyone who took time to recycle their tires and those who worked to make this event a huge success.

Over 150 educators from Walker County attended a "Stop the Bleed" course recently. The effort aims to pass on the knowledge of first responders to teachers and administrators who can help stop uncontrolled bleeding in emergency situations. Training will also be held for educators in the Chickamauga City School system. The Georgia General Assembly approved funding to place bleeding control kits in all public schools.

After six months of work and four public meetings, Commissioner Shannon Whitfield adopted the 2018 Walker County Animal Care Ordinance. The legislation focuses on humane animal care. It also gives animal control officers enforceable guidelines to address nuisance animals and owners who allow their animals to live in unsanitary conditions.

Walker County joined communities across the country during “Police Week” to salute the selfless work of law enforcement officers and acknowledge the debt we owe those who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

On May 15th, Peace Officers Memorial Day, Walker County paused to remember eight officers who served the Walker County Sheriff’s Office until their end of watch.

The Battle of the Badges returns June 14th and the Walker County Sheriff's Office needs your help. Last year, Walker County residents stepped up to give more blood than folks in Catoosa County. The event runs until 5 p.m. in front of the Sheriff's Office. You can also stop by Blood Assurance in Ft. Oglethorpe before June 16th and use GROUP NUMBER 9002666.

Volunteers with Angels Among Us Pet Rescue made several significant donations recently to the Walker County Animal Shelter.

Along with numerous bags of food, volunteers brought blankets, bedding, toys, treats, cleaning supplies  and other items.

Stop by the shelter and find out how you can help make a difference volunteering in your community.

Copyright © 2018 Walker County Commissioner's Office, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp