Cherokee County has added nearly 150 new jobs since Jan. 1, 2012, and more are on the way now that businesses in Canton's Technology Ridge area can take advantage of new tax credits.
The Georgia Department of Community Affairs recently approved the county's request to designate the area, which includes parts of Riverstone, the Bluffs, and the Canton-Cherokee Business & Industrial Park, as an opportunity zone, according to a March 29 report in the Cherokee Tribune.
It’s the second opportunity zone designation awarded to Cherokee. The southwest part of the county near Highway 92 is the first. Businesses in opportunity zones are eligible for tax credits and other incentives in exchange for economic development.
At a morning press conference where officials formally announced the award, Cherokee Office of Economic Development CEO Misti Martin told the crowd at the that most of the new jobs are skilled labor positions, meaning that they have the potential to pay well.
The president of Canton's FactoryMation, a national distributor of industrial control products, anticipates that at least 12 new positions will be created this year at his company.
"We're at the point now where we've got two people in every office," president Russ Sanders said. "Bursting at the seams. We've been growing around 30, 35 percent annually."
Its current location, a leased, 30,000-square-foot facility in the Bluffs, is too small to accommodate that growth.
Today, Sanders announced that FactoryMation will move into a new, 60,000-square-foot facility, also in the Bluffs, by spring 2013. That move will allow the company to add another 40 new local jobs.
"We're just moving to the adjacent lot in the Bluffs," he said. "We're staying. We really like it here."
Officials hope that other companies will feel the same way.
"I think that we will see other companies move down from other locations across the U.S. to be within this opportunity zone," Martin said.
In Cherokee, you have to create 25 new jobs to get a jobs tax credit. The threshold falls to two for companies within an opportunity zone.
"And instead of a $1,250 credit," Martin said, "it's a $3,500 credit. It makes a big difference."
Here are some of the companies that have reported their numbers to the Cherokee Office of Economic Development:Business Name Location Specialty No. of jobs since Jan. 1, 2012
No. of new jobs coming in the next two years PlayNation Canton High-end playground equipment At least 10 Figure unavailable FactoryMation Canton Industrial control 12-15 40 BEMD Company Canton Roller bearing for aerospace 10 20 Belnick Canton Office furniture 13 15-20 Chart Industries Canton Biomedical 50 50 Canton Aerospace Figure unavailable 60 Total 95-98 185-190