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Henry Board of Commission revises Small Business Restart Grant Program resolution
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McDONOUGH — Henry County’s Board of Commissioners voted to make changes to its Small Business Restart Grant Program, which allocates CARES Act funding to the county’s nonprofits and businesses.

The amount of monies will not change — up to $10,000 per applicant is reimbursable. However, some restrictions, such as documents required to provide proof of expenditures, will no longer be required. Additionally, elected officials who have been appointed or have volunteered their time to a committee or board will now be allowed to apply. BOC members or members of the review committee remain unable to apply for funding. Franchise owners are also permitted to apply.

Kimberly Monast, grant administrator for the county, said changes have also been made for nonprofits when it comes to providing documentation so as not to “overburden the administrative process.”

The BOC first passed the resolution in August to disperse a portion of the county’s CARES Act funding from the federal government. Approximately $5 million was set aside to be split equally among Henry’s nonprofits and businesses, so long as the entities can prove their COVID-related operational expenses spent between March 1 and Dec. 1.

Applications are reviewed by county staff and the Henry County Small Business Restart and Non-Profit Assistance Review Committee. If recommended for approval by the committee, final approval will be decided by the Board of Commissioners.

To date, 26 businesses and six nonprofits have received funding. An additional 11 businesses are expected to be recommended for approval during the BOC’s Nov. 4 meeting.

There is no deadline to apply. Applications will be accepted until the funds run out.

To obtain an application, visit www.co.henry.ga.us.

Henry County public safety hosts annual Night Out
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McDONOUGH — Henry County Police Department, Sheriff’s Office and county officials celebrated Henry’s Night Out with the community offering trick-or-treating, music and fellowship Thursday night in McDonough.

Henry County Development Authority attracts over $1 billion in investments in five years
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MCDONOUGH — Henry County has seen $283.5 million in new economic development investments, creating 2,100 new jobs, in the third quarter of the year, according to the Henry County Development Authority. The investment is the result of project announcements from The Home Depot, Purple Innovations and Zinus, among others.

Over the past five years Henry County has seen some of its greatest numbers of jobs, investments and projects on record, according to the Authority. Population and employment forecasts released in August 2019 by the Atlanta Regional Commission showed that Henry County will reach a population of 370,000 by 2050. The Development Authority expects that the county’s rapidly growing population will benefit from the increased demand for workforce caused by these new and established businesses.

Over the past five years, 6,489 new jobs have been created in Henry County. The county has seen 34 new economic development projects and expansions, totalling more than $1 billion in new investments.

“HCDA has purposely worked to attract more manufacturing and international companies that can leverage the county’s strategic location and skilled workforce to accomplish their business objectives,” said Pierre Clements, Chairman of the Development Authority.

Over the past five years companies, including De Wafelbakkers, Encompass Health, The Home Depot, Luxottica, and TSYS have decided to choose and expand in Henry. One of the newest additions to Henry’s advanced manufacturing sector is Purple Innovation Inc. (“Purple”). Gov. Brian P. Kemp announced in July that Purple, the comfort technology company known for creating the Purple Mattress, will create 360 jobs and invest $21 million in its advanced manufacturing facility in McDonough. Purple designs and manufactures a variety of innovative, premium, branded comfort products, including mattresses, pillows, cushions, frames, sheets and more.

The proximity to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest and most traveled airport, and metro Atlanta location has made Henry County a desired destination for global commerce with foreign direct investment (FDI) from companies like ALPLA, Luxottica, Sangsin Technology America and Zinus, USA, according to the Authority. Zinus, an international Korea-based corporation, chose McDonough as the site of its first North American advanced manufacturing facility in August, a move that will create 804 jobs and invest $108 million in Henry County. With over 40 years of experience in the home furnishings industry, Zinus is known for engineered products that infuse natural ingredients, including green tea, olive oil, and charcoal, into their mattresses and home furniture.

The Development Authority also assisted 34 companies with expansions and locations over the past five years. These new and established industries will employ more than 6,489 people and generate over $1 billion in new investments for the county’s tax digest. For comparison the $1 billion in added digest value that HCDA has attracted equals the entire fair market value of city of Locust Grove. The Development Authority expects to see continued growth in industry sectors such as advanced manufacturing, professional services, e-commerce and health care.

“As our population continues to grow it is imperative that we continue to grow our commercial tax base to keep a balanced tax digest and ease the burden on residential taxpayers,” said HCDA Executive Director F.J. “Josh” Fenn. “As a commercial or industrial property only requires $.60/per tax dollar collected in services and a residential property requires $1.40/per tax dollar collected, these investments are key to keeping balance for Henry County as a whole. For a county of our size and location, the Development Authority’s achievement of attracting $1 billion in investments in just under five years is a major accomplishment for an economic development agency.”

About the Henry County Development Authority

As the lead economic development agency for Henry County, the Development Authority works to help retain local companies and to foster new relationships and opportunities with companies looking to relocate or grow their operations into Henry County. Learn more and connect with the HCDA team by visiting ChooseHenry.com.

Henry 2020 seniors improve ACT scores
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MCDONOUGH – Henry County Class of 2020 seniors did not let the national pandemic stop their progression on the ACT, one of the nation’s standardized tests used for college admissions.

Overall, district scores increased in all subject areas as well as the composite score while also outpacing the national performance change from 2019 to 2020. As a district, Henry County Schools matched or outpaced the state change in four of the five reporting areas.

“It is a testament to our seniors and the teachers in this district that our students were able to increase performance levels even during a pandemic,” said Holly Cobb, vice-chair of the Henry County Board of Education. “The class of 2020 is a special class, and these scores are great indicators of their resiliency and determination to finish their high school careers on a positive note. I’m delighted to see the trend continue where our district is improving at a faster rate than our national peers.”

The ACT, like its SAT counterpart, is a nationally standardized test typically used as a part of the college admissions process; however, there are four subjects tested on the ACT – English language arts, math, reading, and science – compared to just math and evidence-based reading and writing with the SAT. Students can score up to a 36 on the ACT in any of the tested areas, and the overall composite score can go up to 36 as well. In the spring of 2020, many colleges and universities across the nation suspended the use of standardized tests as a part of the admissions process due to the pandemic.

The district composite score increased by 0.4 points, to 19.7, a greater level of growth than that seen by the state and also at a time when the national average decreased.

Henry County Schools’ 2020 seniors also saw an average increase of 0.4 points in all measured subject areas. This is a greater average increase for district seniors when compared to the state’s average increase of 0.35 points and the national average decrease of 0.1 points.

Of the district’s 10 high schools, five schools had senior classes realize across-the-board gains in all subject areas and composite scores. Hampton, Luella, Stockbridge, Union Grove, and Woodland high schools all increased their composite scores this year by an average of 0.86 points. Seniors at Luella High School saw the greatest composite score gain of 1.3 points.

Two additional high schools saw increases in at least one subject area. Eagle’s Landing High School saw increases in math and science, while Ola High School saw an increase in science.

Math and science were the two subjects that had the largest growth in average scores for the district. Both subject areas experienced 0.5 point gains. In math, six out of 10 high schools increased their score, while seven out of 10 high schools increased scoring in science.

Luella High School seniors from the Class of 2020 had the greatest gains this year compared to their Class of 2019 counterparts. Two of their subject area scores – ELA and science – also tied those of seniors across the nation. Principal Jerry Smith was pleased to see the hard work of his students and staff pay off last year with the revelation of these ACT scores.

“These scores are a tribute to the commitment from our students, faculty and community,” Smith said. “We knew the class of 2020 was going to reach down and do what it takes to shine through. Their hard work is accounted for in these scores, and this success is just a huge tribute to them.”

While the Luella High School seniors’ composite score saw the highest growth in the district, there were also increases of 1.2 points in ELA, 1 point in math, 1.6 points in reading, and 1.2 points in science.

When looking at district seniors’ scores relative to their state and national peers, Ola High School seniors scored higher than their national peers in math, reading, science, and the composite score. Union Grove High School seniors topped both the national and state averages in all scoring areas.

The latest student performance metrics were welcomed news for Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis and district leaders.

“It is simply remarkable the accomplishments of our class of 2020,” Davis said. “Our students and teachers worked extremely hard last year, and despite the way the year ended, these results reveal one of the great highlights of 2020. Our board and district are proud to recognize these achievements.”