UPDATED–View Chair Wood’s full speech HERE
On May 10th, the Council hosted the Henry State of the County Address with Chair June Wood at the Merle Manders Conference Center. The inaugural Henry State of the County Address had a diverse attendance, including local government officials, public safety officers, business owners, special interest groups, groups of faith, and members of regional organizations.
Before Chair Wood spoke, the Council’s Steve Cash and the Henry County Manager, Cheri Hobson-Matthews, both spoke about Henry County and Chair Wood. Cash urged the attendees to see beyond the boundaries of Henry County and outlined his vision for the future of Henry. Cash added that he believes that Henry’s best days are yet to come, “keep your forks, dessert is coming.” Hobson-Matthews echoed this optimism and excitement about Henry County’s future, adding that Chair June Wood “has the passion and vision to make Henry County a great place to live, work, and play.”
When Chair June Wood began speaking to the crowd, she made clear her belief in her colleagues, respect for the Henry County community, and appreciation for the attendees of this event. Growth, Wood explained, is coming to Henry County, but it is up to everyone in the community to shape that growth and maximize the opportunities for the county. Wood emphasized the importance of imagining the best version of Henry County and then taking the necessary steps to achieve that vision for the future.
Henry County is strategically located between Savannah’s port and the city of Atlanta. In addition, the county has very good highway access, is proximally located to Hartsfield Jackson Airport, and is now home to its own Atlanta Speedway Airport. All of these factors come together to support a business friendly environment. June Wood hopes to continue to diversify the types of businesses that call Henry County home, as well as diversify the tax base.
In addition to increasing economic development in the area, June Wood understands that transportation, infrastructure, and technology improvements are all elements of this endeavor. Chair Wood pledged to continue to push for quality transportation improvements that will improve traffic flow and expand transportation options within Henry. In addition, she maintained her regional mindset by taking into account the larger framework of Georgia transportation and striving to connect Henry to the rest of the region. She noted that she and her team will be working closer with the ARC and the Aerotropolis CIDs to maintain this regional perspective and coordination.
While many additional opportunities exist in Henry County, Chair Wood noted several successes that have already been occurring in the region. For example, she noted that
- commercial and industrial values are up,
- Henry is home to innovative reversible express managed highway lanes,
- sports tourism has increased,
- the county has been supporting healthy behavior with the Panola Mountain multiuse trail;
- the Hampton Senior and Recreation Center will be opening in the community later this year and will support citizens of all ages, pave the way for stronger community development initiatives in the future.
The Council would like to thank Chair June Wood for her visionary speech to the attendees, as well as all of our sponsors for their generous support of this event.