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Residents: Schools, legislators are weaknesses

Clayton County residents discuss ways to improve economic development in the county during a strategic planning forum hosted by the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce and representatives from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Clayton County residents discuss ways to improve economic development in the county during a strategic planning forum hosted by the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce and representatives from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

— Rex resident Linda Slagle sees the recent woes of Clayton County Public Schools as a barrier to economic development in the county.

While several school systems in the Atlanta area have had their fair share of scandals over the years, Clayton County is the only one that has found itself facing three accreditation crises in the last 10 years. One of those crises even led to the district losing accreditation for nine months.

Each time, squabbling amongst school board members has been at the center of the troubles.

“Right now, people across metro Atlanta are laughing at us because of our school system,” said Slagle, a 25-year resident of the county.

Fifty residents, like Slagle, got to have their voices heard during the second public input forum for a proposed county-wide economic development strategic plan. The forum was organized by the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute.

photo

Curt Yeomans

Clayton County residents hash out what they feel are the county's weaknesses, during an economic development strategic planning meeting held Thursday.

Georgia Tech Project Manager Jason Chernock said he and his team will take the residents input from Thursday, as well as resident input from a forum held last month, and combine it with input they have been gathering from officials across the county for the last few months. That input will be used to craft a new strategic plan for economic development in the county.

Chernock said the plan should be ready for public presentation within a few months. He also said he and his team have been seeing common threads in the input.

“It’s been pretty consistent,” Chernock said. “We’ve pretty much been hearing the same stuff at this forum that we heard at the previous forum. And, we heard it during our interviews around the county before that.”

Georgia Tech officials put out poster boards for residents to write down what they felt were Clayton County’s weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Consistent themes on the “Opportunities” board were Clayton State University, tourism, services for senior citizens and the location of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the county.

However, one common thread was that people saw the Clayton County legislative delegation as both a weakness and a threat to economic development in the county.

Low home values, a lack of public transportation, poor race relations, poor communication and inadequate recreation and development programs for children and teenagers were also listed as weaknesses.

Residents listed “the people of Clayton County” as both an opportunity and a threat to the county.

The residents also had several suggestions for improving the county, such as improving the quality of life, strengthening existing businesses, developing consensus among different groups in the county, addressing the public transportation issue and focusing on the county’s image.

Chernock told residents the easiest way to grow Clayton County’s job base is to “support the businesses that are already here.”

However, some residents said county and city governments need to help by being more business-friendly when handing out business permits.

“I think we need to streamline the permitting process to make it easier for businesses to get a permit,” said Jonesboro resident Joel Trout. “If you are going to make it difficult for new businesses to get a permit, why are they going to want to relocate to our county?”

Comments

OscarKnight 2 years ago

(("Clayton County legislative delegation"))..........This is part of our problems in Clayton County.

.....One of these Legislators is Sandra Scott....Who remembers her ?

....Remember when The Clayton Schools lost their accreditation ?

...If I'm not mistaken, Scott was one of those School Board Members.....Ha, Ha

....Take Off The Rose Colored Glasses !!!.

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Robert 2 years ago

Low home values, a lack of public transportation, poor race relations, poor communication and inadequate recreation and development programs for children and teenagers were also listed as weaknesses.

"A lack of public transportation", there it is again, and again, and again (Tax the non-users) "poor race relations", what the heck is that suppose to mean? Somebody has got to be talking about the Hispanics or Cambodians or something. "Inadequate recreation and development programs for children and teenagers", Would you like to see a new building totally go to waste? Build an educational science and math center for intellectual improvement. (Without a basketball court in the design)

Residents listed “the people of Clayton County” as both an opportunity and a threat to the county.

The citizens of Clayton County do make good victims for the citizens of Clayton County.

The residents also had several suggestions for improving the county, such as improving the quality of life, strengthening existing businesses, developing consensus among different groups in the county, addressing the public transportation issue and focusing on the county’s image.

"Improving the quality of life", where else can you watch the six o'clock news live in your own front yard? "Strengthening existing businesses", does that mean more burglar bars? "Developing (a) consensus among different groups in the county", Like having the Democratic party and NAACP supporting both democratic candidates? Maybe that means opposing view points should have a lobotomy and think like certain people think. (Mass transit at tax payers expense is good, just keep saying it over and over until you believe it.) "Focusing on the county's image." The Bible says to wash out the inside of the cup and the outside will be clean to. Humm, there's a thought.

Chernock told residents the easiest way to grow Clayton County’s job base is to “support the businesses that are already here.”

Tennis shoes - check, Baby clothes - check, Showing the world my new underwear - check.

However, some residents said county and city governments need to help by being more business-friendly when handing out business permits.

You can never have to many thrift stores.

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OscarKnight 2 years ago

..Awesome post Robert !!!

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Robert 2 years ago

You want REAL suggestions; . 1) Find four global markets predicted to succeed for the next generation or more such as; . Automotive industry is global and it isn't going to go away any time soon, . Computer and Electronics industry along the lines of information (cloud) storage facilities and development, . Solar, Wind and Geothermal industry, and . Hollywood and Music industry. . Businesses that could benefit from having an international airport and highway system. These would be developed in the Old Dixie and Conley road area (I forget the name of the town that use to be), Forest Park - Ft. Gillem area and along Hwy 42. These areas are prime for new development, close to the airport and close to the interstate system. These four ideas are just suggestions. I'm sure you could think of a few more, maybe even better ideas. I thought of four because if one should fail in the market then we would have three remaining. . 2) Revamp the school system by looking at new model systems that actually work. . 3) Increase public safety by putting "patrol" back into patrolmen rather than red light cameras and forcibly removing the criminal class from ClayCo. . 4) Family entertainment. People will travel and pay to be entertained.

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OscarKnight 2 years ago

"Chernock told residents the easiest way to grow Clayton County’s job base is to “support the businesses that are already here.”

. Shady Car Dealers, Stolen Merchandise Industry, Imported Junk Dealers, Illicit Drug Dealers, and Morrow's Signal Camera Businesses !!!!

(( “Right now, people across metro Atlanta are laughing at us because of our school system,” ))

"Right Now" ?................Clayton County has been the joke of the town and the life of the party, for quite some time. We have people in our county that has to Laugh to keep from Crying, and the school system is only a single act, in this Clayton County side show flea circus. ........The audiences, sitting in the grandstands, of The Metro Atlanta Big Top Donkey Show, probably laughs at our county to take their minds off of their own problems.

......I say, lets have a fools parade in this county !!!

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OscarKnight 2 years ago

.....Although our county flea circus might seem lopsided, funny, and foolish to others, the admission only requires to put aside your ignorance, and enjoy the entertainment.

.. Our chances to disenfranchise the stupidity in this county is slim to none..What's more Sad; We are also out numbered.

...Welcome to The Democrat Plantation of Clayton County, Ga.

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