Believe Greater Dalton is a 5-year strategic plan for our community led by the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce. 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.
WHAT DID WE LEARN?
Greater Dalton’s business climate is best in class, but unfortunately we also 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: Education, Downtown, Entrepreneurship, Economic Development, Housing, and Community Pride.
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. As we begin year 3, 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.