The news is not good for Elbert County, as the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission has released its latest population projections.
Elbert County is one of a handful of counties in the state that is projected to decrease in population over the next several years.
Tommy Lyon, Elbert County Commission Chair, says that has to do with a lack of jobs.
“What we are seeing is that people are moving to where the jobs are”, said Lyon. “We are going to have to be aggressive and create jobs, and the way we create jobs, is that we need a spec building.”
Several discussions have taken place about what the county should contribute to economic development.
Lyon pointed out a hidden asset in the county, and that is the Hartwell Short-line railroad.
This, once work is completed, will connect the CSX and the Norfolk Southern rail lines.
Based off that information, Lyon says, that county can begin to make some other things happen.
“If we can put this ¾ of a mill in for economic development that would give us an opportunity to build a building, and purchase some land along the railroad, so that we could be ready for when that project is complete”, said Lyon. “If we can get ahead of the curve then we can make some things happen.”
For 2013, Elbert County is projected to have 20,233 residents, and by the year 2030, that number is expected to be down to 19,534.
More discussion on economic development will continue in the coming months, as well as at the county commissioners’ yearly retreat planning session.