Believe Greater Dalton is a strategic plan for our community led by the Greater Dalton Chamber. The process to help us understand what Greater Dalton needs to focus on to thrive, grow, and continue to be more competitive began in 2016, when over 2200 citizens of Dalton/Whitfield County responded to a survey to let us know what they thought of their own community. We took that input combined with additional facts and compared ourselves to 9 other communities of similar size in the Southeast to see how we stacked up.
Greater Dalton’s business climate is best in class, but unfortunately we learned that 62% of those earning more than $40,000/year at a job in Whitfield County choose to live somewhere else. The findings suggest that if we want to be an attractive place to work AND live, we need to improve the health of our overall economy, the vibrancy of our downtown, our housing options, educational outcomes, overall quality of life, and the support we provide to entrepreneurs. These focus areas became the “six strategies” of Believe Greater Dalton: Community Pride, Downtown, Economic Development, Education, Entrepreneurship, and Housing.
Through the Chamber’s leadership, the work of Believe Greater Dalton officially began in January of 2018. Each of the six strategies has two volunteer co-chairs and evolving working groups to help shape the course of each strategy’s priorities. Since we began we have made great progress on the tactical recommendations for each strategy, and we will continue to work together as a community to define next steps of implementation.
Launch a Campaign to Enhance Community Pride
Deanna Mathis, Shaw Industries
Charlie Bethel, Georgia Court of Appeals
Internal and external image and marketing campaign
Enhance ongoing economic development & CVB external marketing
Amplify and accelerate progress towards the other 5 initiatives
Engaging young professionals in this effort enhances talent attraction & retention
One of the recommendations that emerged from the Believe Greater Dalton strategic plan was the development of a new grassroots community brand identity to serve as a focal point of community pride.
We rallied together with local partners from the Creative Arts Guild, the Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Downtown Development Authority, the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia, and others to create branding and a tagline with the goal of inspiring community pride in our residents and attracting potential residents/visitors.
We wanted to capture the refreshing, warm, and welcoming feeling of home that you get when you're in Dalton. Just like our community, the logo is vibrant and playful yet composed.
The “O” mark has a double meaning. While one interpretation is a rolled up rug, symbolizing our heritage deeply rooted in the carpet & flooring industry, another is a fingerprint representing the uniqueness of the area and its people.
Establish Downtown Dalton as a Destination District
David Aft, Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia
John Davis, Peacock Alley/Affordable Real Estate
Young Professionals and families expect downtown to be a destination
Downtown housing will increase vibrancy and help provide diverse housing options
- Increased vibrancy downtown enhances talent attraction and retention as well as quality of life and place
Sustain a Best-Practice Economic Development Program
Kevin Harris, Arrowstar, LLC
Jeff Myers, Hamilton Health Care System, Inc.
Focus on economic growth AND diversity
Must focus on industrial attraction, business retention, and support for entrepreneurs
New jobs increase the overall economy
Education Partnership to Align Greater Dalton’s Talent Pipeline
Brian Cooksey, Shaw Industries
- Based on the Strive model of collective impact
- Includes six key focus areas to ensure success for all students in our community, from cradle to career:
- Kindergarten Readiness
- Early Grade Reading
- Middle Grade Math
- High School Graduation
- Post-secondary Enrollment
- Post-secondary Completion
- The Education Partnership has collaborative action teams dedicated to each of these areas, made of volunteers from our community. Because of the work already being done in our community, we have combined Kindergarten Readiness and Early Grade Reading into Early Grade Education
- An Education Leadership Council exists to provide direction and support for the collaborative action teams.
Education Leadership Council:
Early Grade Success:
Co-Chairs: Michael Fennell
Middle Grade Math:
Co-Chairs: Anna Adamson
High School Graduation:
Co-Chairs: Bob Bethel
Co-Chairs: Dave Moeller
Co-Chairs: Gina Kertulis-Tartar
Create a Scalable Physical Hub for Entrepreneurship in Downtown Dalton
Bryan Macon, Dorsett Industries
Bob Caperton, Barrett Properties
A physical location for entrepreneurs to interact and share ideas
Entrepreneur-specific business training
Opportunity to partner with Dalton State College & Georgia Northwestern Technical College
Pursue a Competitive & Diverse Housing Stock
Todd Harrison, Hamilton Medical Center
Melanie Suggs, Greenwood Development
Building high-quality housing at competitive prices will drastically aid talent attraction & retention
A diverse range of housing will appeal to a broad audience
Encouraging workers to also live hear dramatically enhances local vitality
More appealing housing options increase local quality of place