A lot of dirt is moving and buildings going up in Hall County, and that means progress for the area after years of slow recovery from the 2007-09 Great Recession, during which few building permits were issued as growth slowed to a crawl.
Now subdivisions are expanding construction while others are beginning. School systems are working to anticipate new families moving in.
Retail is following rooftops, bringing more options to the area.
Meanwhile, industries are expanding, from the vital poultry sector to manufacturing of tractors and other goods.
Those in government and other service sectors like health care are working to meet demand and improve the community.
Get the full report in Sunday’s paper as part of The Times’ annual special section, Progress.
GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT
Retail development continues to move forward in Hall County, particularly at North Lake Square on Dawsonville Highway.
The new shopping center’s first opening was Hobby Lobby in October, followed by Academy Sports + Outdoors in November.
More stores are set to open this summer.
South Hall also is seeing an increase in development. And housing construction is picking up to a quick pace.
At North Hall High School, a new performing arts center that’s been years in the making is nearing completion.
It’s expected to be completed this spring, with a state-of-the-art theater, band room and chorus and drama area.
It’s one of many projects the system is working on, including renovating the old Jones Elementary School into a facility where high school students can take college coursework, as well planning an upcoming shuffle among South Hall schools to open up space for more students.
In Gainesville, construction of a new elementary school in the Mundy Mill area will begin soon, along with rebuilding Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy.
Local colleges also are expanding programs and constructing new facilities.
POULTRY & INDUSTRY
Kubota Manufacturing of America is the largest manufacturing employer in Hall County, with more than 1,300 and an expected 580 at a new facility.
The tractor maker is building a 500,000-square-foot building in Gateway Industrial Centre.
Twenty-eight percent of Hall County’s local economy is made up of “goods-producing” business — i.e., manufacturers. That is “three times the state average,” said Tim Evans, vice president of economic development at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.
Of course, the poultry industry also continues to be big business in the area, and as Cuba has opened up to trade, local companies have increased exports to the country.
Hall County government finished a major project in February of this year with a new 200-bed Correctional Institution. The new building was constructed next door to its 53-year-old predecessor on Barber Road.
Construction is wrapping up on a new Hall County Sheriff’s Office to be located next to the Hall County Government Center on Browns Bridge Road.
The Northeast Georgia Medical Center, meanwhile, is adding an obstetrics unit to its Braselton campus, which opened this time last year.