The Georgia Economic Developers Association recognized Cartersville, Bartow County and Toyo Tire for the coveted Deal of the Year award.
Expansion plans encompassing $910 million and 470 new jobs over the next 10 years secured the award recognizing teamwork and partnership culminating in "outstanding achievement in the location/expansion of business in Georgia." Toyo was approved for the bond allowance in September of last year and officially inked the deal in July.
Deal of the Year has been awarded for the past four years and represents a unique honor for the community, said Melinda Lemmon, executive director of the Cartersville-Bartow County Department of Economic Development.
"It is significant because it's a very rare award. There's only one of these given out each year. Our community has never received an award like this before," Lemmon said. "It is significant in economic development circles. So, in a way, it has put us on the map."
Lemmon, along with Joe Frank Harris, Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, accepted the award Wednesday. Plans for a local ceremony are in the works to share recognition with Toyo representatives unable to attend the conference.
"They've been very humble," Lemmon said. "I believe it belongs in the hands of the company. It is certainly their project and their accolade in my opinion, but we are so pleased to have accepted it on behalf of our winning team."
Applications were taken for the award from communities throughout the state. Awards were given to communities and businesses in three categories divided by county population. Criteria included employment estimates, wages, capitol investment and incentives offered.
With the application for selection were testimonial support statements from members of the community, elected officials and state level directors. James Jarrett, chairman of the Cartersville-Bartow County Joint Development Authority, heralded Toyo's success and community support.
"Toyo has been a tremendous partner to our community and the continued commitment by them to our community and region is reflected in this project. The ability of Toyo to grow and prosper and continue to positively impact our region is the primary purpose of this project, and we are extremely excited and grateful for Toyo Tire. We are proud to have them as an integral part of our community," Jarrett stated in the award application.
Summarizing the community impact made by Toyo and future expansions, Lemmon ranks the company's growth among the county's historically significant commercial events.
"2011 brings the milestone of 175 years of manufacturing history to Bartow, going back to Jacob Stroup's ironworks. As the economy has taken many business casualties and the community is still in the midst of years of double digit unemployment, Toyo is making what could prove to be the largest manufacturing investment in the county's history. Moreover, the jobs filled are making a difference, one family at a time," Lemmon stated in the application.